2021/5/8: Sega 32X: Darxide (Europe)

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travistouchdown
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Re: 2021/5/8: Sega 32X: Darxide (Europe)

Postby travistouchdown » May 10th, 2021, 11:05 am

I have a nice repro of this game as well, in a real 32x cart with a nice label, and i can say it's really fun and plays well on a NTSC 32x. Thanks for reviewing this one!

Now if i could only find a reproduction manual to complete my set...

While Darxide is technically more impressive; Shadow Squadron is still the best space shooter on the system IMO.

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BlasteroidAli
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Re: 2021/5/8: Sega 32X: Darxide (Europe)

Postby BlasteroidAli » May 11th, 2021, 11:27 am

I never owned a 32x. Rather stupidly I had given my Sega Megadrive to a pal before it was released when I switched to SNES. Some interesting games were released for it but distribution of games was patchy.

I was looking at the cut down version of Doom on the 32X and yeah it does have a lot going for it. It was based on the Jaguar port(according to John Carmac) and interestingly some of the coding was used in the inferior Saturn version. An interesting story is that Rage Software who were doing the conversion wrote their own custom engine which would have produced a higher frame rate than that of the Playstation version but John Carmac stepped in again to say no to the idea. He has since agreed it was a bad decision. After all Exhumed on the Saturn another 3d shooter runs better than the playstation version. So the Saturn owners of Doom got a raw deal from the programmer of Doom, Carmac who did not want a new custom engine. Wow.

Your review of Darxide does not make me want to play it. I had a quick go on it via emulation. Not bad. It certainly shows off how good the 32x was at polygons. It is a shame it was not released at the time of the 3dfx chip on the SNES as it could have been a real success. The game itself, yeah, Asteroids in 3d.
Last edited by BlasteroidAli on May 12th, 2021, 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

ThePixelatedGenocide
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Re: 2021/5/8: Sega 32X: Darxide (Europe)

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » May 11th, 2021, 9:10 pm

BlasteroidAli wrote: An interesting story is that Rage Software who were doing the conversion wrote their own custom engine which would have produced a higher frame rate than that of the Playstation version but John Carmac stepped in again to say no to the idea. He has since agreed it was a bad decision. After all Exhumed on the Saturn another 3d shooter runs better than the playstation version. So the Saturn owners of Doom got a raw deal from the programmer of Doom, Carmac who did not want a new custom engine. Wow.


To be fair to him, there would have been some texture warping. And he had no idea of how difficult the Saturn is to work with. According to one of Lobotomy's coders, the Saturn's quads are terrible for large geometry, because they cause dramatic slowdown.

He said the Quake engine would have been a lot smoother on PS1, if anyone had bothered to publish the port.

Later Saturn games like Sonic R and Sonic Jam somehow found a solution to the issue, but I've never seen anyone explain what changed. Was it just mind melting levels of optimization, as implied by Youtube's Game Hut? Using the sound hardware for an extra performance boost ala Shining Force III?

Whatever the answer was, you wouldn't find it in early 3rd party support documentation for the Saturn.

Breaker
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Re: 2021/5/8: Sega 32X: Darxide (Europe)

Postby Breaker » May 11th, 2021, 9:22 pm

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:To be fair


Cue "Letterkenny":

To be fair

To be fair

To...be...fair

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MSR1701
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Re: 2021/5/8: Sega 32X: Darxide (Europe)

Postby MSR1701 » May 12th, 2021, 4:48 am

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:
BlasteroidAli wrote: An interesting story is that Rage Software who were doing the conversion wrote their own custom engine which would have produced a higher frame rate than that of the Playstation version but John Carmac stepped in again to say no to the idea. He has since agreed it was a bad decision. After all Exhumed on the Saturn another 3d shooter runs better than the playstation version. So the Saturn owners of Doom got a raw deal from the programmer of Doom, Carmac who did not want a new custom engine. Wow.


To be fair to him, there would have been some texture warping. And he had no idea of how difficult the Saturn is to work with. According to one of Lobotomy's coders, the Saturn's quads are terrible for large geometry, because they cause dramatic slowdown.

He said the Quake engine would have been a lot smoother on PS1, if anyone had bothered to publish the port.

Later Saturn games like Sonic R and Sonic Jam somehow found a solution to the issue, but I've never seen anyone explain what changed. Was it just mind melting levels of optimization, as implied by Youtube's Game Hut? Using the sound hardware for an extra performance boost ala Shining Force III?

Whatever the answer was, you wouldn't find it in early 3rd party support documentation for the Saturn.


As I understand, the Saturn is a 2D machine that processes 3D from Quads instead of Polys, which messes up the 3D maths.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: 2021/5/8: Sega 32X: Darxide (Europe)

Postby VideoGameCritic » May 12th, 2021, 3:18 pm

It just occurred to me that the high-res polygons of Darxide seem sharper than anything I've seen on the Saturn. In my experience the polygon graphics on the Saturn were always very chunky. If this is true it's a scathing indictment of the Saturn!

ThePixelatedGenocide
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Re: 2021/5/8: Sega 32X: Darxide (Europe)

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » May 13th, 2021, 2:01 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:It just occurred to me that the high-res polygons of Darxide seem sharper than anything I've seen on the Saturn. In my experience the polygon graphics on the Saturn were always very chunky. If this is true it's a scathing indictment of the Saturn!


Image

This is high resolution? It's just good art direction, with colors that blend well and only enough detail to add style without becoming noise.

And keep in mind the frame rate, even with that very limited geometry.

Show me the 32x game that looks as good as Virtua Fighter 2 or Decathlete, and I'll reconsider.

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MSR1701
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Re: 2021/5/8: Sega 32X: Darxide (Europe)

Postby MSR1701 » May 13th, 2021, 2:08 pm

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:
VideoGameCritic wrote:It just occurred to me that the high-res polygons of Darxide seem sharper than anything I've seen on the Saturn. In my experience the polygon graphics on the Saturn were always very chunky. If this is true it's a scathing indictment of the Saturn!


Image

This is high resolution? It's just good art direction, with colors that blend well and only enough detail to add style without becoming noise.

And keep in mind the frame rate, even with that very limited geometry.

Show me the 32x game that looks as good as Virtua Fighter 2 or Decathlete, and I'll reconsider.


Not really fair comparing Darxide 32X to a 2nd gen Saturn game. Against the initial Saturn fare, Darxide fares rather well, even against some PSX titles.
Heck, 32X Virtua Fighter 1 plays bwtter than the original VF1 Saturn release...

ThePixelatedGenocide
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Re: 2021/5/8: Sega 32X: Darxide (Europe)

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » May 13th, 2021, 3:18 pm

MSR1701 wrote:Not really fair comparing Darxide 32X to a 2nd gen Saturn game. Against the initial Saturn fare, Darxide fares rather well, even against some PSX titles.
Heck, 32X Virtua Fighter 1 plays bwtter than the original VF1 Saturn release...


Yes, it does. But look what happens when you need a high frame rate outside of a controlled environment.

Image

Screenshot credit: VC Decide. Check out her Youtube channel for some of the best console comparisons around.

It's a generational difference, even with the Saturn port being rushed to market. The 32x is partially able to hide these limits, by doubling the player geometry for win/continue screens, but they still don't compare with the Saturn's worst graphics.

The only reason Darxide is able to compete with the Saturn/PS1, is that the developer makes the most out of every polygon. He limits himself to Super FX polygon counts (and sub-Super FX frame rates indoors), so that he can focus all the system's resources on textures and lighting.

And it's a great trade off. David Braben was ahead of his time.

In a way, it's similar to the approach taken by the Dreamcast. It can't match the PS2 in terms of raw polygon count, but Soul Calibur, MDK2, and Ecco the Dolphin still look great today.

And this preference for detail over polygon counts would ultimately influence later PS2/Xbox titles like FFXII and Riddick.

strat
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Re: 2021/5/8: Sega 32X: Darxide (Europe)

Postby strat » May 13th, 2021, 8:15 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:It just occurred to me that the high-res polygons of Darxide seem sharper than anything I've seen on the Saturn. In my experience the polygon graphics on the Saturn were always very chunky. If this is true it's a scathing indictment of the Saturn!


32-X had no hardware support for polygons and added a framebuffer to the Genesis/Megadrive's tiled backgrounds. John Carmack described it as like an underpowered 386 PC, which is why 32-X Doom had a lower resolution. Saturn may not have been the best 3D system at the time, but 32-X was laughable apart from the AM2 ports.


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