Pal NES games are faster on NTSC NES?

Started by tonev, June 14, 2012, 01:53:51 am

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Is it just my imagination or PAL games are running faster on ntsc  nes? Thought not all of them for example one friend has megaman 2 european version and it runs normal but for example i have european tetris and it runs faster or is it just my imagination? I have also tested it with duck tales and i think it is also faster...
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Yes they are faster :) ...but it depends on game. Try european SMB ;D


I think that only applies to games that were optimised for PAL TVs, which by understanding isn't many games that were originally released elsewhere. :P
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NTSC-games runs slower on PAL-hardware, and (optimized) PAL-games runs faster on NTSC-hardware because of different CPU-speeds. As Cheetahmen said, only PAL-games that were optimized to run faster on the slower PAL CPU (making the game run at the same speed as the unmodified game on a NTSC-system) will in fact run faster on a NTSC-system. Example of games that were optimized: Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 & 3, Batman and Turtles. Example of games that were not optimized: Mega man and pretty much every game not made by Nintendo themselves.

This is mainly why I own NTSC-systems even though I live in Europe: I want to play the games at the speed they were meant to be played at.


Just wondering, were there any European NES games that weren't optimised for the US release? The only one I can think of is The New Zealand Story, (Or Kiwi Kraze as it was called in the US for some reason) but I dunno if that was originally a European release. ???
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The other day I played the PAL version of SMB2 and I found out that the music had been corrected for PAL but the actual game speed is untouched so it runs slower on PAL systems. I used a stopwatch and a walking Shyguy as a timing reference and I got a ~16.6% diference, which correlates to 50Hz vs 60Hz. The vine climbing sound effect is also slower than its NTSC counterpart. Can someone in Euro-land confirm this?


Yes they are faster :) ...but it depends on game. Try european The Legend of Zelda 1  :link:



This forum allows necroposting, so no big deal ;D


PAL Mega Man 3, 4 and 5 are only  music optimized, but the game play is slow. Mega Man 1 and 2 are not optimazed at all even the music is slow.
Only PAL games are Lion King and Jungle Book, they are PAL optimized and do not run on NTSC NES at all


There are surely more PAL optimized games than Lion King and Jungle Book. I remember Elite as a PAL exclusive title that doesn't run on NTSC systems at all.


The NTSC Famciom and NES runs at 1.79 Mhz and the PAL NES runs at 1.66 Mhz. This is 17% difference.

On its face, that means that European games are 17% slower than their NTSC counterparts. However, that is only true unless the game code was specifically modified to run at the slower PAL clockspeed. This is why most PAL counterparts of NTSC games are slow and others are the same speed as their NTSC counterparts.

Either way, playing any PAL NES game on an NTSC system will result in + 17% speed, making them much faster.

This is a bit annoying since there are some games that were only released in PAL format that are worth playing, such as Parasol Stars, Elite, and Noah's Ark. All exibit glitches on NTSC hardware and Elite is so bad it's unplayable on NTSC hardware.

The only way around it is to use a PAL NES, to use a modern clone FPGA system that can switch to PAL, or use an emulator.


Yes but I think you mean that games (all) runs 17% slower on PAL NES. To compensate for this difference PAL games may be optimized to run at a higher speed, which means they should run at the expected speed on a PAL system and will run too fast on an NTSC system.
Far from all PAL games are optimized though, and many are identical to their NTSC counterparts, which means they should run fine on NTSC (and slow on PAL).
Some games are only partly optimized. For example sprite movement speed is sped up to compensate for the slower clock speed, but the sound driver isn't modified, which means it plays at a lower tempo and at a different pitch on PAL.

PAL has longer vblank time (the time you can draw on the TV), I think Elite is using this extra time to draw more stuff. It will not work correctly on NTSC because it runs out of vblank time.

These are the main PAL differences from NTSC Famicom/NES that I know of:
-Program speed is slower (affects video, audio tempo and all logic)
-APU is slower (music pitch is different but with same relative difference between tones)
-Color emphasis bits red and green are swapped in $2001 (FDS Bubble Bobble becomes green on PAL)
-The OAM decay bug is fixed on PAL PPU
-Sprite evaluation will always start 20 scanlines after vblank (OAM DMA needs to finish earlier)
-Dot to CPU cycle ratio is 3.2:1 instead of 3:1 (pixel width is a bit different)
-Field length is 312 lines instead of 262 (PAL has longer vblank)
-There are black borders that NTSC doesn't have. 2 pixel columns on each TV edge and 1 on top


So, theoretically Dragon's Lair PAL version runs even faster on an NTSC NES? That's kind of awesome.

The NTSC version feels super slow.