With the new exploits for PlayStation 2 – MechaPwn – and PlayStation 1 – FreePSXBoot – it was the right time to take the PlayStation consoles out and get them started.
Kudos to the developers! Excellent! I wish I could do such things.
Playing around with exploits is fun itself. But now that the consoles are hooked up on the TV it is the right time to revisit CTR – Crash Team Racing. One of the few kart racing titles besides the Mario Kart Series that I really like. I could have dug out the disc right away… but I don't like using precious originals and the big office cupboards containing my collection are so filled up that taking out some games really is an issue. For the sake of completeness of this entry I did it anyway. It even came with the nice boomerang shaped Multi Tap for 4 players.
A lot easier to access than the legit discs are my backups. So why not put in the backup? Both MechaPwn modded PS2 and the PS1 using FreePSXBoot started the backup. To just have it crash when loading a race. Thanks, LibCrypt, well done. Okay, I learned yesterday that success in burning backups with subchannel – sub96 – varies. Some writers can do it, some don't. Previously I used burners that did not succeed and therefore downloaded protection fixes aka cracks. As the stupid intro on the TV showed, my backup copy is indeed cracked. Loading it from on a PS1 with modchip causes no issues. But no success with MechaPwn and FreePSXBoot. Crashes like a not cracked, bad copy when attempting to start any race.
Then I did something I don't like. It feels wrong doing it to precious old consoles. I did the swap trick on an unmodded PS1 (shame on me):
- Insert legit garbage CD, turn on console – wait for the disc to authenticate
- Pull out spinning legit CD and replace it with CTR backup – wait for TOC being read
- Pull out spinning backup and put in legit CD – wait for second authentication
- Swap one last time with the backup for have it loading
Now that I know which of my CD/DVD burners is able to replicate the sub-96 data successfully I will replace the cracked backups with clean ones. (Good copy of CTR works with FreePSXBoot, test with MechaPwn PS2 follows)
Good, clean CD-R backup of CTR works with PS2 set to DTL with MechaPwn.
The MechaPwn devs removed any references to PS1 backups early on and simply say: "Not supported, unintended feature." (Not a surprising feature though – since the PS1 copy protection and region locking is more or less the same thing – removing region lock removes DRM)
In the first README file PS1 backups were mentioned. Not sure why they removed it. They still refer to booting PS2 master discs that anybody can create on their own with a CD/DVD writer.
Edit: Some test results
I wanted to know exactly how much time is needed to boot into a game with different methods.
Test console: completely unmodified European SCPH-9002
Test game: "Spyro 2 – Gateway to Glimmer"
When doing these kind of tests, you really notice how much time games force you to watch intros and logos from developers, studios and whatnot. Therefore I defined the Spyro game as loaded when the white text on black background "Sony Computer Entertainment Europe" appeared
* Original CD ≈ 22s
* CD-R with FreePSXBoot (Unirom) ≈ 38s (closed drive with backup as soon as screen goes cyan(? they call it cyan on the README)
* CD-R with Tonyhax via Crash Bandicoot 2 ≈ 1m 29s
* CD-R with Tonyhax via Crash Bandicoot 3 ≈ 1m 38s (more and longer logos/intros)
Of course the legit CD wins this competition. Loading speed of FreePSXBoot has vastly improved though.
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