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  • Joined: 31 Dec 2020
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GG Aleste 3
Post Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 9:17 pm
I've managed to extract the rom for GG Aleste 3 from the Game Gear Micro the special edition comes with, but it's not bootable on an Everdrive or emulator without some hacking and that's beyond my skills. It's a 1mb rom too, the same size as Sonic Blast, pretty big! The other roms on the Micro boot just fine so maybe there's something omitted or skipped in the boot sequence that their emulator accounts for. Is there some sort of tool or reference I could use to help visualize what's going on at boot that's having it not boot at all? It does have the correct header information like an official GG rom would. I'm pretty novice when it comes to hacking. If anyone else has the GG Micro, the address range on the assets.bin is 093609-0E1489 and is zstd compressed.
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:26 am
Various people have been looking at it. It seems like some deliberate protection for the ROM so that it only works in the custom emulators it comes with; it will be difficult to fully prove any patch. Certainly we are against any distribution of GG Aleste 3 while it is commercially available.
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  • Joined: 01 Jan 2021
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:49 am
Think of everything I say from now on as a joke.

Most recently, the MEGA DRIVE-mini version of Darius, which was ported in collaboration with M2 and an excellent amateur creator, was created to work with the actual ROM cartridge.
However,The greedy fool made cartridges from hacked ROM images and sold them on auction sites without permission.
Knowing that, M2 showed great anger.
From this, probably M2 tried to prevent the ROM cartridge that works on the actual machine from being easily created and sold without permission in the same way as the Aleste 3 created this time.
So it seems that M2 created a new virtual ROM mapper and programmed it so that ROM cartridges without the same hardware as its mapper function would not work.
When dealing with SMS 8Mbit Mask-ROM, as far as we know, we use 315-5912 developed by SEGA, but we think that Aleste 3 has added a new mapper function to the emulator that behaves differently.
note: Address shifts and replacement are often used.
Therefore, if you reverse engineer the ROM, you will be able to determine how the new functions of mapper will work.
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  • Joined: 31 Dec 2020
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:39 pm
Maxim wrote
Various people have been looking at it. It seems like some deliberate protection for the ROM so that it only works in the custom emulators it comes with; it will be difficult to fully prove any patch. Certainly we are against any distribution of GG Aleste 3 while it is commercially available.


It's nice to hear that I'm not the only one looking at it. Thank you! It's a very fun game and it'd definitely be nice to throw onto my Game Gear if it ends up being possible in the future.
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  • Joined: 01 Jan 2021
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 10:58 pm
Nice to find people working on that ! Where other people could be found ?
I tried to get the rom by extracting files from a switch cartridge dump (there are tools to do that on Switch) but the rom files (like all other files for this game) are compressed with an unknown compression mechanism ! BTW in the names of the some Roms it indicates that these Roms have been patched (to change the color of some elements from what I understood).
Anyway it’s nice that you managed to dump it from the GG mini ! Now I hope that the way to run it on real GG will be found (and GG everdrive updated to support it), playing it on the switch is good but it’s not like playing it on the real hardware !
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 1:37 am
Sylver wrote
Nice to find people working on that ! Where other people could be found ?
I tried to get the rom by extracting files from a switch cartridge dump (there are tools to do that on Switch) but the rom files (like all other files for this game) are compressed with an unknown compression mechanism ! BTW in the names of the some Roms it indicates that these Roms have been patched (to change the color of some elements from what I understood).
Anyway it’s nice that you managed to dump it from the GG mini ! Now I hope that the way to run it on real GG will be found (and GG everdrive updated to support it), playing it on the switch is good but it’s not like playing it on the real hardware !


Not sure about the Switch version, but the GG Micro version is compressed in zstd so possibly the Switch version is compressed the same way. There's a tool on the zstd github that will allow you to decompress it.
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:58 am
Shentok wrote

Not sure about the Switch version, but the GG Micro version is compressed in zstd so possibly the Switch version is compressed the same way. There's a tool on the zstd github that will allow you to decompress it.

It's not zstd inside I guess, all files have a .m extension and the first 3 characters of the content is "mdf" then it's all binary !
I have the following files :
224 Jan 1 13:30 .
256 Jan 1 13:33 ..
150060 Jan 1 14:07 GGaleste2_blinkpatch_200701a.bin.m
139420 Jan 1 14:07 GGaleste_RedCrossPatch_200526.gg.m
70513 Jan 1 14:07 PowerStrike_UE.SMS.m
309294 Jan 1 14:07 PowerStrikeii.sms.m
322682 Jan 1 14:07 ggaleste3.gg.m

Did you dump the GG Aleste 1 and 2 ? There are some patches that could be interesting !
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 1:53 pm
Sylver wrote
Shentok wrote

Not sure about the Switch version, but the GG Micro version is compressed in zstd so possibly the Switch version is compressed the same way. There's a tool on the zstd github that will allow you to decompress it.

It's not zstd inside I guess, all files have a .m extension and the first 3 characters of the content is "mdf" then it's all binary !
I have the following files :
224 Jan 1 13:30 .
256 Jan 1 13:33 ..
150060 Jan 1 14:07 GGaleste2_blinkpatch_200701a.bin.m
139420 Jan 1 14:07 GGaleste_RedCrossPatch_200526.gg.m
70513 Jan 1 14:07 PowerStrike_UE.SMS.m
309294 Jan 1 14:07 PowerStrikeii.sms.m
322682 Jan 1 14:07 ggaleste3.gg.m

Did you dump the GG Aleste 1 and 2 ? There are some patches that could be interesting !

If someone can send me a pm with the switch file i think i can extract it.
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  • Joined: 09 Dec 2013
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 3:35 pm
I would love to get this emulated, if someone would kindly send me the dump. If possible, a dump from switch and micro would be extra helpful.
The last mapper I RE'd was Haradius Zero on famicom.

best regards,
- dink
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  • Joined: 04 Jul 2010
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 4:04 pm
The problem is not on mapper side (which is very classical) but on emu.
At least sound and sprites engines are "broken" (strange / wrong opcodes)

As Maxim said, even if we succeed to hack it, if must not be public as long as its commercially available.
Its a real gift made by M2 so lets try to not ruin it.

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:11 pm
Ok with the help of asper, I found how to decompress files !
Here are the info about files from switch version :
CRC32 :
13596065 GGaleste2_blinkpatch_200701a.gg
0a49407d GGaleste_RedCrossPatch_200526.gg
4077efd9 PowerStrike_UE.SMS
a109a6fe PowerStrikeii.sms
5ae64731 ggaleste3.gg

Size
262144 Jan 2 17:41 GGaleste2_blinkpatch_200701a.gg
262144 Jan 2 17:37 GGaleste_RedCrossPatch_200526.gg
131072 Jan 2 17:57 PowerStrike_UE.SMS
524288 Jan 2 17:57 PowerStrikeii.sms
1048576 Jan 2 17:39 ggaleste3.gg

All files are working in emulator but GG Aleste 3 of course ;)

If M2 was selling a GG cartridge, I would already have ordered it, but it's not something that they are selling for now :(
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 6:33 pm
All the GG Micro versions are patched on the fly as there are multiple instances of the same rom with no differences in bytes or CRC. Here's the list of hex locations for each file that I could identify in the assets.bin and they are all zstd compressed except for the PNGs on the GG Micro.

000000-0021BD PNG
0021BE-0056F0 PNG
0056F1-00E5AF PNG
00E5B0-01110D PNG
01110E-04207B PNG
04207C-04EF22 PNG
04EF23-04F01E PNG
04F01F-05A280 PNG
05A281-06518E PNG
06518F-07143F PNG
071440-07BC75 PNG
07BC76-087721 PNG
087722-0935C6 PNG
1C5766-1D2AD9 PNG
1D32FD-1D7587 PNG
1D7588-1D7B13 PNG
1D7B14-1D847E PNG
1DCBAB-1DCF1C PNG
1DCF1D-1DE995 PNG
1E2ADF-1E35E2 PNG
1E3602-1E366E PNG
1E366F-1E3836 PNG
1E3837-1E3C63 PNG
1E3C64-1E3E3D PNG
1E3E3E-1E3FAB PNG
221DF5-222FE9 PNG

093609-0E1489 GG Aleste 3
0E148A-0F2519 Aleste Mk.III
0F2575-13EDBC Power Strike II
13EDBD-162F6B GG Aleste 2
162F6C-18711A GG Aleste 2
187150-1981DD Aleste Mk.III
19822A-1B3CE9 GG Aleste
1B3D6B-1C56D8 Aleste SMS
1D2ADA-1D847E ???
1D847F-1DCBAA GPL License
1DE996-1E3FC5 ???
1E3FC6-221DF4 Credits SMS
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 9:53 pm
Sylver wrote
Ok with the help of asper, I found how to decompress files !
Here are the info about files from switch version :
CRC32 :
13596065 GGaleste2_blinkpatch_200701a.gg
0a49407d GGaleste_RedCrossPatch_200526.gg
4077efd9 PowerStrike_UE.SMS
a109a6fe PowerStrikeii.sms
5ae64731 ggaleste3.gg

Size
262144 Jan 2 17:41 GGaleste2_blinkpatch_200701a.gg
262144 Jan 2 17:37 GGaleste_RedCrossPatch_200526.gg
131072 Jan 2 17:57 PowerStrike_UE.SMS
524288 Jan 2 17:57 PowerStrikeii.sms
1048576 Jan 2 17:39 ggaleste3.gg

All files are working in emulator but GG Aleste 3 of course ;)

If M2 was selling a GG cartridge, I would already have ordered it, but it's not something that they are selling for now :(


Power Strike and Power Strike 2 are both "Good Dump" (sms checker 0.81), while .gg ROMs are all unknown.
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:11 pm
GG Aleste "RedCrossPatch" has various small changed in a limited zone of the cartridge, maybe in some tiles to make something like a cross to be red :p

GG Aleste 2 "blinkpatch" has a 30 bytes zone at offset 0x3d135. In this zone we have 35 03 bytes repeated 15 times, each 3503 is replaced with a CE0C but the last 2 3503 that are replaced with CF0C.
Not sure what is really changed but it may fix some sprite blinking when there are a lot of sprites on the screen ?
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:19 pm
Modern retro game releases from Sega are generally modified to (1) remove use of the Red Cross logo as it is aggressively protected by the Red Cross organisation (eg the hospital in Wonder Boy III) and (2) remove or reduce the intensity of any flashing effects to reduce risk to epileptic people with photosensitivity (eg the transformation room in Wonder Boy III).
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:46 pm
Ok that makes more sense than my suppositions ! So there are no real improvements, just some modifications to comply with some modern world constrains !
Thanks for the info !
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 3:57 am
Sega logo is present in GG Aleste 3 rom but not used in-game.
sega.png (56.3 KB)
sega.png

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:44 pm
Hopefully someone could at least do a direct rip of this game's soundtrack. It's really good!
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:38 pm
Again, we’d rather keep away from any sharing of content until the game is out of date. The music engine seems to be an area where the game is protected/corrupted anyway.
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Post Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:53 am
I'm going to have to lock this topic as inappropriate for a while.

We'd normally gladly be discussing technical aspect, but if we had an influx of new registered users who may lead this discussion in a direction we are not comfortable with there, so let's stop it before it happens.

TL;DR; This is the first legit Sega 8-bit title released in decades, it is also a great game (few hours in I believe it is probably the best shoot-em-up for Sega 8-bit systems) and we ought to be supporting it.

A few of us looked and confirmed the dumps and explored various routes, and it is very apparent that M2 intentionally used techniques to prevent it from being copied too soon. It's possible from what we researched that the dump on the disk cannot be functional without patching from a complicit emulator, aka they didn't put a correct file on the disk intentionally and it's not a matter of swapping a few addresses here and there or a dumb mapper replacement. I would like us on SmsPower to respect that and not be openly promoting pirating a game that was released a week ago. Not only it is unethical and harmful, and that alone should be enough of a good reason, but it also put our community at risk.

I been playing it a lot lately, trying to enjoy it without continue nor save-states, I bought it from Japanese eShop, there are guides on the internet e.g. "Guide: How To Buy Ni****do Switch Games From The Japanese eShop - Region Free Accounts"
https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2020/06/guide_how_to_buy_nintendo_switch_games...

(PS: Discussing the patches for other games in that collection is fine, other topics could be made for them)
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