Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:15 pm
I've jumped on the NTE bandwagon, so I'll add my experiences to Nishi's Report Log. (Are you ready for a wall of text?
If there's one thing to take away from the NTE experience, it's that we've never given Sonic Team enough credit for what they accomplished with PSOv1. We often give them a hard time for V1 being so buggy and unfinished, but the NTE was compiled on October 25 of 2000, and JPv1 was compiled on December 6. Considering how unfinished the NTE is, ST must have been working really hard during that last six weeks to finish the game. I'm going to try to note every single difference that I can, so I'll separate them by topic. Some of these observations have already been made by other people, but I wanted to make a somewhat comprehensive list. The differences in this list are made in comparison to V1; for each item in this list, if I don't state how a particular behaviour changed in the final game, you can assume that V1 has the opposite behaviour of how a particular feature behaves in the NTE (assuming you don't already know what the behaviour is in V1). Here we go...
Starting the Game
- The Sonic Team logo is much larger than in the final version.
- An ADX logo appears after the Sonic Team logo.
- The main options menu has only one toggle for stereo or mono music; you can't change the game's language, so you'll need to know Katakana in order to play effectively.
- The title screen will display and loop the BGM forever, as there is no opening movie to show.
- The opening movie is replaced by a text crawl as the title screen music plays, but you only see it when making a new character.
- The B button cancels the text crawl, while the A button makes it scroll faster. The Start button doesn't seem to do anything.
- The UI is missing lots of borders and backgrounds that were added for the final game.
- The character creation screen seems about the same as in the final game, but costumes 8 and 9 are missing, and the secret character names to unlock them don't seem to work.
- The Greennill Section ID name is misspelled.
- Unlike the retail versions, the NTE doesn't seem to save your serials to the DC's flash memory, which is quite beneficial, as the NTE doesn't seem to interfere with the retail versions as a result.
- The mode selection screen has an offline option, but it's greyed out and unselectable.
- The counter has only one NPC, and it doesn't match the NPC from the final game. Lobby menus don't work on the other three sides of the counter.
- You can get a target lock on the NPC.
- The information option is missing: you can only manage teams or transport.
- The first lobby teleporter is an area teleporter, and the second lobby teleporter is missing entirely.
- Lobby 10 is called Lobby 0.
- There is no difficulty option when creating a team.
- Lobby animations don't work.
- The team information window has only 6 lines, rather than 8.
- The team list does not display the difficulty setting of each team.
- You appear in the corner of the Hunter's Guild, rather than in the middle.
- The lobby teleporter is missing, so you can't return to the lobby.
- When you appear in either the Hunter's Guild or the hospital, you hear the Pioneer 2 BGM briefly before the correct BGM kicks in.
- When you appear at the hospital after dying, the nurse NPC doesn't say anything.
- You can get target locks on the NPCs who provide services, except for the Check Room NPC, as the counter is too thick to get close to her.
- The Hunter's Guild NPC talks through a speech bubble and doesn't present you with a quest menu, which sadly suggests that loading quests on the NTE is impossible.
- When you access the Check Room, there is no indicator of how much Meseta you have in storage. You have to try to take Meseta out in order to see how much you have based on the quantity selection window.
- When you try to deposit or take Meseta from the Check Room, the quantity selection window starts on the maximum number of Meseta you have.
- All items have stack quantity indicators in the Check Room, even if they aren't stackable.
- When you confirm an item in the Check Room menu, the cursor resets to the top of the item list, rather than staying at its previous location.
- The camera for Principal Tyrell isn't zoomed in far enough, so you have to stare at the back of your head as he talks to you.
- The arms and guards shops have sparse inventories when you're low level compared to their inventories in the final game.
- The arms shop sells weapons with percentages that are not divisible by five.
- Cave 1 is open at the start without beating Forest.
- Forest 2, Cave 2, and Cave 3 do not appear in the Ragol Teleporter after you've visited them.
- Pioneer 2 event decorations and music are not supported.
- You're allowed to move your character before you've finished loading, so you'll see a disembodied shadow moving around, instead.
- Character particles don't work, so your character immediately appears when loading is finished.
- Swords use the same running animation as Handguns, so you can watch your Sword repeatedly slice through your neck as you run.
- Daggers use the same running animation as Sabers, so you hold one arm stationary while swinging the other, which looks quite ridiculous but does explain why FOmarls still have this broken animation in the final game. I guess Sega forgot that FOmarl is capable of equipping one Dagger in V1 (P-Arms's Blade), so they didn't bother to fix her animation.
- Character stats differ from the final game: HUmar starts with a whopping 5 MST/TP in the NTE. Make that single cast of Foie count (if you had enough MST to learn it... which you don't)!
- You start with only 1 Monomate and 100 Meseta in the NTE.
- You can't move the camera with the joystick to look around when you're dead.
- The NTE doesn't tell you your stat increases when you level up.
- You start with 20 LCK, rather than 10.
- You can deal critical hits, but they have no special animation to indicate them.
- The stats in the main menu match the order used in the final game (ATP, DFP, MST, ATA, EVP, LCK), but the stats in the equip menu are shown in the order of ATP, ATA, DFP, EVP, MST, and LCK.
- When attacking an enemy at close range, your character slides to the side slightly after each attack, rather than remaining stationary.
Menu & Chat
- The options menu is missing, so you unfortunately cannot adjust the text speed.
- Speech bubbles accept infinite controller input, which means if you press the A button ten times in one second, you can advance through ten speech bubbles almost instantly. (In the final game, you must wait for one bubble to finish printing before you can advance to the next bubble. If you use a slow text speed, pressing the A button once will instantly print the contents of the bubble, and pressing A a second time will advance to the next bubble.)
- The chat menu only has Guild Card and Simple Mail options; there is no chat log or shortcuts menu.
- Symbol Chat functionality is completely missing from the NTE.
- The automatic sorting option doesn't work much, if at all, so you must either sort your inventory manually or drop items on the ground and then pick them up in a specific order to sort them.
- Western Dreamcast keyboards don't have an IME toggle key, so there doesn't seem to be any way to enable direct input. As a result, you can only type English.if.you.begin.every.bubble.with.a.capital.letter.and.use.periods.instead.of.spaces. If you type spaces, the IME will try to turn your text into Hiragana as soon as you create a valid consonant-vowel pair in Japanese.
- When typing, you can enter a third line of text, but pressing Enter deletes it, along with any text on the second line that isn't going to fit in the speech bubble.
- When typing, your text is placed nearly on top of the software keyboard, which looks rather odd and makes it hard to read in some instances.
- When talking, your character's name appears overlayed on the speech bubble, rather than as a part of it.
- When using Word Select, the target's name doesn't appear on a separate line.
- When using Word Select, word wrap doesn't seem to work.
- Status effects lack icons on both the HUD and the enemy information window (the latter of which appears to be smaller than in the final game).
- The action palette icons don't illuminate when you press their corresponding controller buttons.
- The area map cannot be zoomed out as far as in the final game, so you can't see very much of the map at once.
- When stealing experience, you only see a purple number to indicate how much experience you stole. The plus sign is missing.
- You have a shorter cooldown period after casting a Technique than in the final game (at least for Simple Techniques).
- Technique disks don't seem to list their MST requirement; you just have keep checking your bank to see when your disks change from grey to white.
- Items do not get green names when they have attributes: weapons with percentages still have white names, as do frames with slots. Weapons with special attacks, however, do get green names.
- Weapon grinds give only 1 ATP, rather than 2 ATP.
- Variable DFP and EVP on frames and barriers isn't implemented yet; all defensive items appear to have minimum stats.
- Early frames and barriers do not give any resistances.
- Flame Barrier gives only 20 EFR, rather than 30.
- The A.Beast attribute is called simply "Beast".
- The Dark attribute is called "False", presumably an incorrect romanisation of "Falz".
- Weapons display only their required stat values and not your current stats, so you can't tell how close you are to equipping a weapon without changing menus to look at your stats.
- Weapon percentage displays are somewhat broken. If you look at a weapon with 10% Native, you will see 0 -> 10 as you would expect. If you equip the weapon and then look again, you will see 0 -> 0, rather than 10 -> 0 to indicate that the attribute will decrease if you remove the weapon. You must unequip the weapon to see its percentages.
- Item drops are different from the final game: I was able to obtain a Partisan and a Knife in Cave 3, which is too early to find those weapons in the final game.
- Weapon statistics are different from the final game: Partisan is much stronger than Sword in the NTE.
- Items seem to sell for more Meseta than in the final game: I was able to make 20 000 Meseta just from selling items in Cave.
- Trap/Search is a lowly 1 star unit and seems to be the only kind of unit you can find in Cave, even though you can find frames with multiple slots. You can only obtain other units by buying them from the shop, apparently.
- Marksman/Arm gives 10 ATA, which indicates that the NTE predates Sega's decision to divide all ATA values by 10 in the final game. (Arm units actually give more ATA than Power units give ATP in the NTE.)
- Weapon requirements are different in the NTE: a Handgun requires 45 ATA to equip (as opposed to 68 ATA in V1), but a HUmar still can't equip one even at level 25. As such, it appears that the occupations are much more strongly defined in the NTE: Hunters use melee weapons exclusively, Rangers use guns exclusively, and it takes a very long time to raise your stats to the point where you can equip weapons meant for an occupation other than your own.
- Units boost your current stats and not your base stats, so you can't use them to help you reach a weapon's requirement.
- Materials boost your base stats by 1, rather than 2.
- Technique disks and materials are stackable.
- God/Power is called King/Power, boosts your ATP by 20, and has 9 stars. It has a white name in the shop but is yellow in your inventory.
- Resistance units are stronger: Resist/Cold gives 15 EIC.
- Monomate/Monofluid heal only 50 HP/TP in the NTE, while Dimate/Difluid heal 100 HP/TP.
- The item pickup cursor and sound effect don't change when you target an item that you don't have enough room to pick up, so you can't tell if you're going to pick up the item or attack when you press A while standing next to it.
- Weapons have a wider vertical angle and a narrower horizontal angle than in the final game. This allows you to hit flying enemies with melee weapons more easily than in the final game but prevents you from hitting enemies and boxes unless they are almost directly in front of you.
- Slicer blades travel at bullet speeds and only hit enemies directly in front of you.
- Healing items drop more often than in the final game.
- Special attacks seem to have a 100% success rate (assuming you have enough ATA to hit the enemy), which would indicate that either the ESP vs activation rate calculation isn't implemented yet or weapon specials have higher activation rates in the NTE than in the final game.
- Mag pictures (as well as tekking pictures) are missing.
- Synchro and IQ values don't turn brown or blue when they increase or decrease, respectively.
- Mag feeding charts don't match the ones in the final game.
- Mags get hungry sooner than in the final game (every 43 seconds, according to Treamcaster).
- When you learn a Photon Blast, there is no indication of it unless you check the menu afterwards.
- Mag colours are totally random: I started with a blue Mag and evolved it into a yellow Varuna.
- Mag bonuses don't seem to work.
- The Mag death bonus seems to work in online mode, but Rudra, at any rate, appears to cast Resta instead of Reverser when you die. Oops! Thanks anyway, Mag.
- Mag stats are added to your current stats, rather than your base stats, so you can't use your Mag to help you reach a weapon's requirement.
- A Mag's POW and MIND stats raise your ATP and MST by 1, rather than 2, per point.
- Raising your MST through your Mag's MIND stat has no effect on your TP meter until you level up, at which point you will gain all of the TP associated with your new MST value.
- Third-tier Mag evolutions (level 50) are missing. As such, your Mag can't learn a third Photon Blast (unless the third evolution occurs at a much later level in the NTE).
- You only gain PB for dealing damage; you don't gain any for taking damage.
- The PB generation formula seems to be incomplete. The final game causes you to gain PB more slowly as you level up, but the NTE doesn't seem to do this, so the stronger you get, the faster you gain PB; e.g. you can gain 10 PB from a single Partisan attack on several enemies and 3 PB from a single heavy attack with a Brand.
- You don't become invincible when you launch a Photon Blast, so if you get hit while the summon circle is up, you forfeit your attack. Grunt enemies still get frozen during the animation, so the PB will work if you don't get hit before the animation begins.
- When you launch a PB, your gem turns into the PB icon immediately, rather than when the animation begins.
- Photon Blast animations seem to have more particles than in the final game: Golla is enough to slow the game down.
- Amazingly, the NTE does not have the V1 bugs related to removing your Mag when you have 100 PB. Sega actually managed to break something new in the final game!
- Bosses do not get frozen during PB animations, so you must be careful of when you try to use your PB. If you use it at the wrong time, the boss will kill you during the animation.
- Bosses appear to be immune to Photon Blasts, yet you still must use them in order to regain access to your second palette (unless you remove and equip your Mag to reset your meter to 0).
- Using a Photon Blast when De Rol Le dies causes you to miss the "PSO, coming soon to a Dreamcast near you!" screen, but you still get sent back to Pioneer 2 successfully.
- The enemy configurations in Forest 1 seem to match the corresponding layouts in the final game.
- Forest 2 and Cave 3 in particular have many more enemies than in the final game.
- Object placement differs from the final game, particularly when it comes to switches and boxes.
- Multiplayer doors do not appear in most places in the NTE, but switch doors do. Some of these single-player maps found their way into the offline quests, even though they no longer appear in freeplay.
- The one multiplayer door I was able to find didn't require multiple players, as the buttons all stayed down once activated, as if I were playing offline.
- Cave's stomping plungers don't make you fall down when they crush you.
- Forest 1, Forest 2, Cave 1, Cave 2, and Cave 3 all have multiple supported configurations, but all of them also are missing configurations found in the final game.
- All of the traps in Cave 1 are missing.
- Trap explosions are even bigger in the NTE and cover the entire screen with yellow and orange light that brings the DC to its knees if you stand too close to them when they detonate.
- Trap hats move too slowly, so you can actually run away from them.
- The Cave 2 pulsing fog is less oppressive than in the final game.
- If you hold the joystick or directional pad while standing inside a teleporter or warp, the game will make the menu scrolling sound as if you're using a menu or list.
- When you use a warp, your hair and Mag take a moment to catch up to you. ;D
- When you use a warp, your character momentarily twitches in preparation to attack before noticing that you're supposed to be warping and not attacking.
- There are no Rico message pods on Ragol.
- Cave supports Forest laser doors.
- You don't splash when walking on the wet floors in Cave 3.
- Dead ends in Cave maps still show a partial nonexistant hallway on the radar map in some rooms.
- Boss teleporters display a confirmation dialogue when you enter them. In the final game, boss teleporters activate automatically if you're playing alone online.
- When breaking boxes, you immediately get a target lock on the nearest item that drops, even though you can't see what it is until your weapon animation is over. Strangely, the extra target lock is also upside down. In the final game, you must finish your attack before you can get a target lock on an item from a box (at least in V2).
- Item box draw distance is massive, just as the blood draw distance is (the latter of which V1 kept but V2 reduced).
- Enemy statistics differ from those in the final game. Most notably, NTE enemies give much less EXP: Booma gives 2 instead of 5, and Evil Shark gives 8 instead of 10. This has a profound effect on leveling compared to the final game, as Evil Shark gives only 2x experience compared to Booma in V1, but it gives 4x experience in the NTE, so Forest is essentially worthless for leveling compared to Cave.
- Enemies don't seem to have idle "pacing" animations. They will stand perfectly still until you get close enough to wake them up.
- Enemies seem to require line of sight to you in order to awaken. If terrain stands between you and a Booma, even if you're standing within melee distance of it, it won't notice you or wake up at all unless you come out from behind the obstruction.
- You can't target enemies until after they roar/yawn.
- When an enemy hits you, you get pushed away from it. This mechanic was removed in V1 and V2 but restored in V3.
- Hildeblue appears to be a regular enemy in the NTE, as all of the Hildebears I've seen have been Hildeblues.
- Mothmants drop frames instead of weapons.
- Rag Rappies wake up and run after you take only a few steps away from them.
- Rag Rappies don't have a 100% DAR.
- Grass Assassin slides backwards when you hit it with a heavy attack, which makes using it as a meat shield much more difficult than in the final game.
- You will hear the target lock noise and see the enemy information window when you face a Pofuilly Slime that's on the ground, but you can't actually hit it. Even so, getting close to a slime makes you walk slowly in the NTE, whereas it doesn't cause you to draw your weapon until it pops up in the final game.
- Pofuilly Slime and Pan Arms have an attribute of ??? in the NTE, rather than Beast. This probably indicates that Sega added these enemies later than the others.
- Evil Sharks seem easier in the NTE than in the final game: I was able to kill them at level 3 as a HUmar, whereas Cave is still quite difficult even at level 5 in the final game.
- Poison Lily's spit seems to travel farther and faster in the NTE.
- Nano Dragon's name seems to be misspelled in the NTE. (Nanonodorago?)
- Nano Dragon's flight is glitchy in the NTE: if the Nano Dragon flies onto an area where the floor is elevated, it can land under the floor and then pop up. If you manage to kill a Nano Dragon while it's in the air, it will float sideways as it spins and crashes to the ground, rather than falling straight down as in the final game.
- When a Nano Dragon is set to fly into the room, you still see spawn sparkles at its destination.
- Pan Arms has much lower DFP in the NTE and is easy to hurt with regular attacks. It also seems to walk around much longer before releasing its laser beams or splitting than in the final game.
- If a slime gets stuck near a door, it doesn't respawn; you must exit and enter the room again to fix it.
- If you hold R while approaching an enemy and then release R when your weapon is within range to strike the enemy, you won't get a target lock but will be able to hit the enemy anyway.
- Enemies remain paralysed much longer in the NTE than in the final game. (They unfreeze on the 10th constriction animation.)
- You level up the moment you kill a boss, rather than after the boss's death movie.
- Bosses give much more EXP on the NTE than in the final game.
- Both the Dragon and De Rol Le have regular-size enemy dots on the radar map, and De Rol Le is missing all of the extra dots that denote his extra hitboxes.
- The lava in the Dragon's arena causes you to flinch but doesn't do any damage when you stand on it.
- The Dragon's arena has no boxes, and the Pioneer 2 teleporter is rather purple instead of red (probably due to a lighting error).
- De Rol Le is quite different in the NTE: his shell breaks off with only a few hits, but you have to slap his flesh quite a bit to kill him.
- De Rol Le stabs you with his tentacles at a much faster pace in the NTE.
- De Rol Le flies over the raft to drop rocks much faster in the NTE.
- De Rol Le's bombs take much longer to explode in the NTE.
- De Rol Le's laser beam moves incredibly slowly in the NTE, and the safe spot in the final game doesn't seem to work. The beam also leaves little burning spots behind on the raft as it moves.
- Beating De Rol Le sends you back to Pioneer 2 automatically after showing you a "PSO, coming soon to a Dreamcast near you!" screen.
- Equipping an item causes part of the sound effect to play twice.
- Critical hits don't have a separate sound effect.
- Using a Healing Ring causes part of the Resta sound effect to play after the ring finishes its cycle.
- Grass Assassin's screech has a slightly different pitch than in the final game.
- The item usage sound is missing.
- The Mag feeding and level up sounds are missing.
- The area teleporter sound is missing.
- The Meseta counting sound is missing.
- The hospital healing sound is missing.
- The Telepipe sound is faster.
- Sound effect fadeout distance is far wider than in the final game. Sound effects from distant objects and enemies are just as loud as sound effects from nearby ones; you must get very far away from an object before its sound effect fades out.
- The bursting and loading screen sounds are missing. You can move the star on the bursting screen, but it's silent, too.
- The Cave and De Rol Le tracks have different mixes from the final game and use synthesised instruments instead of a real orchestra.
- When entering a room on Ragol, the battle BGM will play as long as the room has unkilled enemies in it, even if the enemies haven't spawned yet. The peace music only plays if a room has no additional enemies in it.
- The character save file is 5 blocks smaller than in the final game. This might indicate that the NTE has less bank space, but I haven't exhausted my bank capacity yet to find out.
- The disc uses the same terrible alphabetical sort order as the V2 GD-ROM, but loading is still quite a bit faster in the NTE than in V2, since the NTE is much smaller.
- The game saves when you teleport to a new area, but it doesn't save when you use the bank or shops.
- As with JPv1, the NTE doesn't delete your unequipped items when you crash.
- The NTE seems more prone to crashing, as I was able to FSOD myself somehow by using the keyboard during a Photon Blast.
- The infamous Endless Warp (EW) bug from V3 happens on the NTE, so Sega apparently fixed it in V1 and then broke something again when creating V3 that reintroduced the bug.
At this point the biggest obstacle to further NTE testing is that the server still uses full random map sets when generating NTE teams and consequently often picks layouts that don't exist in the NTE. Even if you manage to get a Forest 1 or Cave 1 map that works, you're likely to find that Forest 2 and Cave 2 are empty, so reaching the bosses is a challenge. Even if you bring Telepipes, you can't return to the lobby, so you have to log out and connect again every time you want to try for a new set of maps. On the bright side, I have now documented which maps the NTE supports, so a future Sylverant update will cause the server to always pick maps that exist, and thus you won't have the empty map problem anymore.
Of course, one of the greatest mysteries surrounding the NTE is the question of whether Forest and Cave are all that the disc contains. As Treamcaster discovered, it's possible to get into Mine 1, but is there anything to do there, and even if there is, what about Ruins? Furthermore, if the other areas exist, then why did Sega try to hide them? I took a peek at the disc's files, and lo and behold, the NTE contains files for Mine 1, Mine 2, Ruins 1, Ruins 2, and Ruins 3. Still, the question remained: are the areas playable? After a bit of tinkering, I discovered the answer: Yes.
Mine and Ruins are fully playable in the NTE! The areas are less finished than Forest and Cave, which is probably why Sega didn't allow people to play them (that, and the purpose of the NTE was reportedly to test the server load moreso than the game itself, so Sega wasn't really looking for any opinions of the game, since they were well aware that it wasn't finished yet and probably wanted the final levels to remain secret until launch day). After a bit of tinkering to unlock Mine and Ruins, I spent over four hours documenting these areas and how they differ from the final game, too.
Are you ready for round 2? OK, then let's get started!
- Mine and Ruins enemies aren't named yet. All of them are named ???. This alone illustrates pretty well why Sega didn't want you to play these areas in the NTE.
- Enemy spawning in Mine seems buggy. At one point a Canadine dropped down next to a Gillchic, and the Gillchic simply vanished. I had to pipe to make it appear again so I could kill it and clear the room.
- Gillchics attack and move much more slowly in the NTE than in the final game.
- Gillchic lasers are green instead of purple and do only 10 damage.
- Gillchics have a shorter wake range than in the final game.
- Dubchics give the same EXP as Gillchics (15).
- Dubchic AI seems to be a bit broken; one got confused and decided to constantly walk into a wall instead of chasing me (and when I say "into" I do mean inside of a wall and not simply against it!).
- Killing a Dubswitch only kills the currently living Dubchics; Dubchics that are currently dead and haven't reassembled themselves yet won't die, so you have to kill them manually if you killed the Dubswitch at the wrong time.
- Garanz missles are incredibly slow, short range, and weak (7 damage per missle), which makes Garanz much easier to defeat than in the final game.
- When you approach a Canane, each Canadine surrounding it will turn around one by one to look at you (which is actually quite a bit more menacing than the way they all turn around simultaneously in the final game), and none of them will fly until all of them have turned to look at you (which is probably why Sega changed their behaviour, as they're quite easy to defeat when they spend all of their time turning around instead of flying away).
- Canadines shoot Zonde much faster in the NTE but also wait much longer to move after getting hit.
- Hitting a Sinow Beat with a heavy attack causes it to slide backwards as far as a Sinow Gold does in the final game.
- If a Canadine dies over a gap, it can drop an item in the void, and the item box will float in midair. If the item box is close enough to the edge of the arena for you to reach it, you can still pick it up, too.
- Gillchics and Dubchics drop frames, rather than weapons; Canadines drop weapons, rather than barriers; Sinow Beats drop barriers, rather than weapons.
- Mine elevators move about half as fast as they do in the final game.
- The Mine 1 split room has an extra purple support column under the floor that isn't present in the final game.
- The shock particle for the broken elevators in Mine 2 is missing.
- Mine traps, buttons, laser fences, healing rings, and darkness haven't been added yet.
- When a Mine door is locked, only the far right or left light will be red. In the final game, all four lights are red until you kill the enemies.
- Vol Opt has a regular teleporter, not a boss teleporter, and the arena is called "Vol Opt", rather than "Monitor Room".
- Vol Opt's intro movie is different, and the HUD isn't hidden for it.
- Hitting the screens and pillars makes the camera shake far more than in the final game.
- The screens seem to flash back and forth between blue and a ghostly image that looks sort of like Vol Opt's second form.
- Killing the screens gives 30 EXP, while each pillar gives 200 EXP (!). In the final game, you don't get any EXP until you defeat Vol Opt's second form.
- Vol Opt form 2 only stomps once per cycle. In the final game, he stomps three times.
- Vol Opt form 2's Resta has white text, rather than green.
- Vol Opt form 2's laser cage attack is weak and doesn't kill you.
- Vol Opt form 2 explodes without a cutscene and gives only 300 EXP.
- "You Have Nowhere To Go" is a synthesised demo of the orchestral track used in the final game.
- The boss arena has no boxes, only a blue teleporter in the middle to go back to Pioneer 2.
- Ruins uses Forest boxes instead of the blue and yellow boxes found in the final game.
- Ruins uses switch doors instead of multiplayer doors.
- The Ruins 1 waterfalls are frozen. (Sega made a PSO PC homage before PSO PC even existed?! ;D)
- Delsaber parries your attacks when you're alone online.
- Dark Belra freezes for a moment before getting stunned after you use a Photon Blast, and Bulclaw freezes for a moment before dying from one.
- Chaos Sorcerer gets knocked backwards when you hit it with a heavy attack.
- When you knock a Chaos Sorcerer backwards, Gee L and Gee R don't move with it.
- Chaos Sorcerer warps away without attacking when you hit it, which Sega apparently thought was too annoying to include in the final game but not too annoying to include as a behaviour of Episode II enemies.
- Claws can wander into hallways.
- Bulclaw's bite uses the Claw's biting sound effect.
- Dark Gunners rise above the floor as they dash around the room, but their target locks remain at ground level.
- Dark Gunners wait much longer before firing their lasers.
- Dark Gunners' lasers are slightly bullet shaped. In the final game, the tip of the laser is pointed, and the laser has uniform thickness, except at the tip.
- Dark Gunners have far more sparkle particles when their shields are raised and also have more pronounced surface tension effects under their feet when they move.
- Claws give 20 EXP (!), and Dimenians give 40 EXP (!!) in the NTE. As such, Ruins in the NTE is as good for leveling as Hard Forest is in the final game (and actually better, since the enemies are much easier than those found in Hard Forest).
- Dimenians drop barriers, rather than weapons; Dark Belras drop weapons, rather than frames; Dark Gunners drop weapons, rather than barriers.
- Bulclaws have much more HP than in the final game.
- Chaos Bringer can charge slightly out of bounds in the great hall.
- The Ruins BGM is a synthesised demo of the orchestral track used in the final game.
- The gasping noise when Ruins enemies die is missing.
- Ruins crystals are much darker than in the final game.
- Ruins traps, jar traps, buttons, laser fences, rocks, zits, and darkness are missing.
- The odds of getting untekked Busters in Ruins 2 are very high compared to the odds of getting any other weapon type with a special attack, and Pallasch is also much more common in Ruins 3 than it is in the final game. These weapons also sell for far more Meseta than in the final game, so you can make a ridiculous amount of Meseta by selling the weapons you find in Ruins.
Of course, perhaps the biggest question surrounding Ruins is... can you fight Dark Falz? Well, the answer is yes... sort of. Dark Falz is at an alpha stage of development, so while he technically exists, the fight is quite boring: none of his forms have functional attacks (although some of his attack animations and AI is in place), none of his forms can hurt you, and all of his forms die in one hit. The arenas also aren't finished: the garden has no butterflies or birds, the wasteland has no ghosts, and none of his forms have intro or outro movies. The camera is much closer to your character during the Darvant phase, but the Darvants can't seem to hit you. As with Vol Opt, Dark Falz has a standard Ruins teleporter, rather than a boss teleporter (and his arena is actually named "Dark Falz", rather than "???", as in the final game). Even though you're in Normal mode, you do get to fight form 3, but there are no boxes to break, and unlike Vol Opt, there is no teleporter to escape the arena, so your only option is to log off after acquiring your epic prize of... 0 EXP.
Finally, as with "You Have Nowhere To Go", "Cry, For Idola The Holy" is a synthesised demo of the orchestral track used in the final game.
Of course, none of the Mine and Ruins content really reflects what Sega wanted people to see in the NTE, so it's not exactly "official" to use these areas or fair to judge Sega for content that they didn't even intend for us to play. Even so, it provides a fascinating look at how PSO's development was progressing a few months before the final game came out and gives us some insight into some of the ideas Sega shelved until future releases or scrapped entirely, as well as some of the things they wanted to do graphically but decided the Dreamcast hardware was too weak to handle.
Finally, the NTE works perfectly with GDEMU, which is also the reason why I was able to bring this Mine and Ruins information to you.
That, folks, is what I've learned about the Network Trial Edition in the ~15 hours I've spent playing it so far. I hope it was interesting.
"Fear the HUnewearl."