Dreamcast v. GameCube: Who Wins Out?

Version Differences - Dreamcast v. GameCube: Who Wins Out?

Submitted by SadisticMystic

As everyone should know, this game has (so far) been released for two systems. However, as with any two systems (with the possible exception of Game Gear and Master System), porting any game from one system to the other isn't as simple as putting the ROM chip into the new packaging. The opcode lists aren't identical, different systems excel in different areas, and in some cases (such as this one) enough time has elapsed since the original release that they want to throw some new features into the remake (in this case, expanded multiplayer and Chao options).

From this, it's clear that some things will change in the port. Sometimes these things are mostly irrelevant, but in SA2 there are version changes that affect the way levels are played for competition purposes--and quite a few of them. Furthermore, such differences don't universally favor one system or the other.

The following is a list of all the changes I know to exist in levels, which are relevant for competition. If you discover more that aren't listed here, send them to me.
(REVISED 2005/10/13: Confirmed my suspicion that Hidden Base 3 had an enabler for a GameCube-only shortcut)
(REVISED 2006/01/21: So that shortcut isn't GameCube-only, but it's still a bit faster that way)
(REVISED 2006/03/14: Sand Ocean isn't version-exclusive either, and neither is Metal Harbor)
(REVISED 2007/03/20: A few random additions)

City Escape - Mission 2: After the boarding section and the first stairs, you run down a path with a curved wall on the left. You can use that curve to run up this wall and find a ring box. On Dreamcast it's a 20 ring box, but in GameCube it's only 10, which means you'll have to find more rings elsewhere to get to 100. 1.5 second advantage.
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Wild Canyon - Mission 2: The Dreamcast version of the Spiral Upper and the Screw Kick has the ability to "reach out" short distances, grabbing or destroying any relevant objects in that radius. If you do a Spiral Upper at the start here, you'll get all 8 rings in the circle in less than half a second. GameCube players have to run around and pick up each ring manually (though the fastest path requires only 6 of these rings). 1.2 second advantage.
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Aquatic Mine - Missions 3/5: The current records were set using a path involving the Mystic Melody, and traveling down the hall it opens up. On Dreamcast, there's only one mine cart in that hallway instead of the 7 on GameCube, making it easier to travel through without stopping. Additionally, there's a plank in front of the mystic shrine on Dreamcast only, which you can run into to halt your momentum and start playing the Mystic Melody more quickly. 1 second advantage.
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Route 101 - Mission 2: On Dreamcast, each of the balloons on the track gives a set amount of rings; some give 10 and some give 20. With GameCube, though, the balloons actually cause 2 ring-generation events. The first one has a value equal to what the balloon is worth on Dreamcast, and the second one is a randomly-chosen 5, 10, or 20 rings on top of that. When you can get 40 rings from a balloon, needless to say you don't have to go as far down the track to finish your set of 100. 10 second advantage.
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Hidden Base - Mission 3: Just before the third checkpoint, there's a "maze" of breakable doors and blocks. At one point in this maze, there's a door with a block right behind it. It's possible, if you can get on top of the block (as opposed to breaking it), to jump from it to another door and from there into the right-side boundary, at a height above where they defined the top of the wall to end (which, presumably, is the same on both systems). From there you can guide yourself into the closed-off area where you get the Chao, saving a considerable amount of vertical movement. There's one problem, though: Doors and blocks are too high to simply jump up onto. How do you get there? GameCube has a lot of objects added to this level, to include a set of three pots just off to the right of that point. So for them it's easy: One jump onto a pot, and from there they can reach the door and the block. But Dreamcast players have to jump onto blocks on the left side, before that point, and make a long hover with an unfriendly camera, without moving into the red wall that juts out, in order to get there. 4 second advantage.
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Pyramid Cave - Mission 2: After the long starting tunnel and the first hourglass, there's a choice of crossing a gap with spinning poles, or falling into a pit and climbing out. There are 87 rings up to this point, and two 10 boxes in the pit, so this ends the level. However, on GameCube there are also three loose rings just before the pit, meaning they only need to get one of the boxes instead of two. 0.4 second advantage.
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Death Chamber - Mission 5: The Dreamcast's Spiral Upper from Wild Canyon comes back. This time it's used to pull out the first key, through both a floor and a closed hourglass door. Impressive reaching power indeed! The alternative requires hitting the hourglass (creating three platforms, but not opening the door on the ground), going either left or right, jumping on the platform, punching out the four boxes, hitting another hourglass which opens up the floor, then quickly getting over there and digging. (Triple-B uppercuts allow you to take out boxes from the ground and skip the first hourglass, but this is slower.) 5 second advantage.
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Eternal Engine - Missions 1 and 5: At the end of the level, there's a tower that you take a long descent down. But on Dreamcast, it's possible to fly around the tower. Two panels extending radially from the tower appear to be walls, but are actually fake. By hovering to the right spot just behind the tower, you can fall through a void, and land directly on top of the Goal Ring...without going through the time-consuming process of being locked into a platform and having to destroy all the spots on the power generator. On GameCube, it's been fixed, the walls are real, and you accomplish nothing but a quick fall to your death. 11-15 second advantage.
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Meteor Herd - Mission 3: The vertical containers you navigate on the way to the Chao have no points of entry, apart from being warped in from a Mystic Shrine. Or do they? For some reason, the sides of these containers are made up of two panels, one above the other. With Dreamcast, it's possible to aim a glide directly into the "seam" between these panels, and the result is passing directly through the wall, making it easy to land on the Chao. GameCube players have tried to replicate the method, with no success. However, Mark Blackwell later found a method that, while slower (since it takes more time to climb to a higher spot) will work on GameCube, which makes the advantage less severe. 8 second advantage.
Mission 5: Spiral Upper at work again. This time it'll get the first piece through a breakable wall, instead of having to punch a blue meteor into that wall. It doesn't save that much time in the ideal case, but it saves a lot of trouble of getting a shot lined up correctly. 1.5 second advantage.
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Lost Colony - Missions 1 and 5: The end of this level is a lot like Eternal Engine, in that there's a tower with fake walls on Dreamcast and real walls on GameCube. It doesn't save nearly as much time here, though...it only avoids the wait for the missile. 3-4 second advantage.
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Security Hall - Mission 3: In a minor timesaving move, on Dreamcast yoiu can do a Screw Kick as soon as you land on the top platform, grabbing the Chao immediately. It's not much, but every frame saved helps in this short level. 0.1 second advantage.
Mission 5: Screw Kick really shines in Security Hall, at least for Dreamcast players. Used next to any safe, even a locked one, it will immediately open that safe (for a quick 20 points if nothing else) and if there's an item inside, it reaches in and grabs that item immediately. The Blue Emerald here is a great place to put that to use. Anyone, even GameCube players, can flip the switch to unlock red safes, then intentionally die, and the red safes will still be unlocked on the next life. But even with this timesaver, they still have to run up to the ceiling to stop the antics of the moving weight. Not so for the lucky Dreamcast owners. Forget unlocking red; just turn left from the start, run under the weight as it rises, and Screw Kick the safe to get the emerald. This can be done in as little as 3 seconds from a standing start. 15 second advantage.
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Route 280 - Mission 2: The same rules as Route 101 apply here, yielding a similar result favoring GameCube. 10 second advantage.
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Sky Rail - Missions 1 and 5: This seemed like a fine level to show off the GameCube's apparent power to handle more scenery. Well, at least they thought it was just scenery. Players who play the game for speed will learn to use anything and everything to their advantage. In particular, there are some extra pumpkin monoliths here that were absent from Dreamcast. Many players may see a "rail jump" shortcut possible at one point in the level. The truly advanced will find something better: a series of spindash jumps from one pumpkin monolith to the next. Because of each one's height, using the pumpkins will keep you higher than using the rails--high enough that after the final jump, you end up at the top of Church Mountain, instead of the bottom where you have to spend time climbing it. The absence of some of these monoliths in Dreamcast leaves them too few and far apart to make a full path between them. 8 second advantage.
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Mad Space - Mission 1: Yes, there's actually a difference in a hunting stage. If you're going for the absolute fastest pieces available, there's a location for piece #3 on Dreamcast very close to start, which never appears on GameCube. 5 second advantage.
Mission 3: The same general method as in Meteor Herd applies, noting that the containers are now rotated 90 degrees from that level. No alternate method has been found for GameCube players, either. 15 second advantage.
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Cosmic Wall - Missions 1 and 5: Lots of objects added to this level on GameCube. What matters here is the number of ring balloons that were put into the ascent tubes. With gravity as low as it is here, hitting a balloon on the way up will boost you substantially, which can help you make larger jumps to clear platforms that would require multiple stops and re-jumps on Dreamcast. 7-13 second advantage.
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Kart Race - All Tracks: Dreamcast gets only the six basic karts in this mode. GameCube has unlockables that provide each character with an alternate kart, which has different statistics from the original. In particular, the Shadow alternate kart provides far more speed than anything Dreamcast could ever come up with. Advantages for each track are currently unknown.
Game ID: 4
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