Because I think that im pretty good at reviewing my favourite games, I give it a try and start to review them here. Here we go!
You like to race trough tight mountain passes in your japanese import? Have you ever watched Initial D? This awesome arcade racing game from the 2000’s is for you! Introducing: Battle Gear You probably never heard of this game series, mainly because you live outside of Japan. But since we have the technology of EMULATORS and SOFTMOD, I was being able to play almost all games in the series. Lets begin!
Battle Gear didnt actually start off with the name Battle Gear. The original game was called „Side By Side”, and was released by Taito. It was a kinda average arcade game. No one really cared about it and its pretty forgotten, mainly because there was still Ridge Racer and Daytona USA, Sega Rally and many other games. But then came 1999 and the PlaySation 1 (Ever heard of it?) and a sequel called „Side by Side Special”. With 5 tracks and 8 Japanese Cars with one of the best soundtrack I have ever heard in a racing game. It had unlockables, like a 350km/h Suzuki Truck and Mt. Akina (The main mountain pass from Initial D which is a real life mountain road).
Now for the first mayor game in the series that might be the best one: Side by Side Special 2000
It was released in 1997, with being almost the same as the original Special, but better. Some visual updates here and there, glitch fixes, a bit better framerate, with more cars, tracks and unlockables and with the same awesome soundtrack, its one of the best racing games on the PS1 so far. But only if you are from Japan, or you own a Japanese PS1.
Battle Gear 2 (JP) / Tokyo Road Race (PAL)
It was released in 2000 in 2 regions: Japan and Europe. (Sorry American fellows, no NTSC version, only if you have a softmodded FCMB PS2) The two games are almost the same. The japaneses version has „normal” course names (Mt Akina ect.) while the PAL version tracks are named like „Course 1 , Course 2 , Course 3”. There are a total of 8 tracks in both version with the same amount of cars. We also got some new music thrown in there, but we still have the Side By Side Special soundtrack. It has updated visuals and sounds, but there is no Suzuki Truck that goes 350 km/h, it would have been too insane for the 5 mountain passes the game has. This time we only have 3 opponents on track instead of 7 (+ 1 player). This mode also had some sort of I338 Cable Mode (?) and as long as I know, it was literally LAN play, just like how the GameBoy did it back then. Yeah, you needed 2 PS2s, 2TVs, 2 copies of the game and a server to connect the 2 PS2s to. It was insane!
Battle Gear 3
Another Japanese only release, the last good version I know of. With more tracks, more cars, and…a totally new soundtrack. It also has 4 player mode, but only on the Arcade version of the game. I wasnt really being able to play it, because ESDL (External Storage Device Loader) just wont play the game, even if its not fragmented, it thinks it is. Whatever, I played this one on an emulator, but you already know how bad the framerate was (24FPS AT BEST). But its a great one, and I would recommend picking this one up if you are aiming for car and track quantity.
So, what more should I say? Oh yeah, there was Battle Gear 4 Tuned which was only released in Japan (not suprised why). But all the games before 4 are perfect arcade racers. If I had to give it a score, I would give it: 8/10. It has great visuals, has entertainment value, insane soundtrack. But it was really only a game made for Japanese people who love Inital D and cars but cant afford to buy one of these cars to drive trough insane mountain passes while racing against a 780HP Mazda FD3S RX-7 (Last Gen RX7).
So yeah this is it. I literally write stuff like this in free time, just writing down my experiences. It might be a bit all over the place tho. So, how was it? Should I write more or less of one particular game? Or even add YT videos and pictures to make it look visually better? I think it wasnt terribly bad, so I might write some more later on. Yeah I might like to talk about games a bit too much...
Okay, no problem, i can explain it so it will be easy to understand.
Lets say you want to play Battle Gear 2, okay? So, you are somewhere...lets say you are in Romania. You have yourself your PAL SLIM PS2 (this is going to be important later on), you want to get the game. You go to the stores, but cant find it there, not even on websites(welp maybe on EBay). Thats where the JPN only releases kick in. What this means is that its only legal to buy and sell this game in Japan. So now you are like: Oh okay ill go to Japan or get someone to buy me the game and boomshakalaka i can play the game!...not really. Its illegal to get it outside the country. There are literally laws for that. So its not really possible.
Lets set up a scenario where you have the game in your hands. You pop it into the PS2, but it wont load. BAM! REGION LOCK! The biggest enemy of imports jumps into action to prevent you from playing the game. You see, there are files on the disc, and one particular file wont let you play that game on any fancy region. They are usually named:
Europe: SCES / SLES (50Hz but it doesnt matter in 2018 so its mainly 60Hz) (My Tokyo Road Race Code: SLES_509.54) USA / Canada: SCUS / SLUS (60Hz) (My Gran Turismo 4 Code: SCUS_973.28) <--- Japan: SLPM / rarely SLPA (60Hz) (My Sega Rally 2006 Code: SLPM_662.12)
That Battle Gear 2 Disc has this file called: SLPM_645.34. This is some sort of evil gamefile that prevents you from playing it on an European PAL or American NTSC console. It will only work on a *drum roll* EMULATOR! this is where the PC thing comes in. An emulator is a type of program that lets you run something from another machine. So what do you do? Its a PS2 game, you want to play on PC, so you get PCSX2, a PS2 emulator for PC. You put in your disc into your PC, create an image file of the disc, then run it on the emulator. This program can also leap over region lock, because it emulates the console in all of its glory, not only the game region only. Now you can play it on your PC with emulator!
Oh and did you notice something when i told what region codes my games uses? Scroll back and take a look. Like i said, in the example we used a PAL SLIM PS2. So how can i play an American NTSC Gran Turismo 4 on my PAL system? Welp there is a magical thing called FreeMCBoot, a softmod that has many great features. One include OPL (Open PS2 Loader). It loads games from your HDD, USB or from your computer with a server, and IT REMOVES REGION LOCK! Its the best thing ever!
So yeah i hope you understood this 2 billion lines of glorious tutorial text and made everything clearer! Oh and also, thanks for the nice feedback! I always wanted to share my knowledge about old favs of mine!
EDIT: Also When loading the savefile, it does matters a lot what region and code the game has.
Works: (This is also the game region code i use for the game) Savefile: SCES_502.94 Game: SCES_502.94
If the the region code is not the same as the savefile region code, it will simply think there is no savefile. And when you tryna save the game while there is already a savefile with different region code...i dont know what will happen. Maybe the two will merge or stuff will get overwritten, not sure, never happened to me luckily! Something like this almost happened to me once with Gran Turismo 3, i though that i will die in a heart attack that i will lose my 75% gamesave, but i literally puted in a different GT3 disc with different region code. Huh, at least i was being able to keep my Mazda 787B!
Okay okay ill stop puking up too much information!
Yep its pretty troublesome and hard to figure out which game works and which not. But it all comes down to what game you actually want to play. DVD or CD? Is it your region or a different one? If its a DVD, which type of DVD? (DVD5 or DVD9) If its DVD gotta check if its a VIDEO/AUDIO convert, cuz then it wont work. If its CD gotta check size cuz if its too small it might not work, and if its 700MB+ it might not work again because it might think its DVD and many other stuff. But at the end if you can play the game for hours and hours, it worth it. But only if everything works proplerly. (Except for Video files cuz all of them are really laggy on USB)