TraynoCo (Sega Saturn, SHIRO!)

Saturn Developer XL2 Confirms Metal Gear Solid Prototype Is Real

Originally written by Danthrax over at SEGA SATURN, SHIRO!

A prominent Saturn homebrew developer whose code was used in part to make a prototype of Metal Gear Solid running on the Saturn confirmed that the prototype is real.

XL2 said Friday in the SHIRO! Discord server and Saturday on SegaXtreme that the prototype’s developer, Frogbull, sent him a playable ISO file.

“For those who doubted, I confirm the MGS demo is 100% legit, including the intro screen, splash screen and all,” XL2 said.

This is a screenshot XL2 provided of the MGS prototype running in Mednafen. It shows the Segata Sanshiro Codec sequence at the end that some questioned the legitimacy of.

French hobbyist modder Frogbull uploaded a video Oct. 9 claiming to depict some of the opening minutes of PlayStation-exclusive Metal Gear Solid. They also made a thread on SegaXtreme as well as a post on their Patreon page.

The video shows a Saturn bootup screen followed by logo screens for Metal Gear Solid publisher Konami before a title screen appears, all while original music from the game plays. After starting a new game, the video shows a brief green-tinted Codec conversation screen, complete with the voice of main character Solid Snake, followed by gameplay from the first room of the game. It ends with another Codec conversation, this one quickly turning into a joke with Saturn mascot Segata Sanshiro appearing while his theme song plays.

SHIRO! compared side-by-side screenshots of the prototype and the original PlayStation game in a story last week.

This is a screenshot XL2 provided of the MGS prototype running in Mednafen. It shows some debug statistics overlaid in the upper-left corner showing his own PC’s memory usage and processor temperature as well as the frame rate of the prototype, 60 frames per second.

XL2 said Frogbull sent the prototype to him for comments and suggestions. “I won’t share it, but it’s pretty much all you see in the video…and a few bugs you didn’t see,” he said.

Frogbull has said that they won’t share the prototype publicly for fear of seeing it burned onto reproduction discs and sold on eBay.

XL2 has made several well-known pieces of Saturn homebrew, including a demo of Unreal, an original first-person shooter named HellSlave and a partial recreation of Sonic Xtreme he called Sonic Z-Treme.

His code for Sonic Z-Treme is available on a Github and Frogbull said they used it for their MGS prototype. XL2 confirmed that, too.

“He used the Sonic Z-Treme code with the ZTP format for the level,” XL2 said.

He also discussed some of the technical aspects of the demo and how Frogbull accomplished the feat. He said the prototype uses the VDP1 graphics processor’s half-transparency feature to create reflections in puddles of water.

“I’m a bit surprised that it looks that great, but I guess it’s mostly thanks to the fact that the camera is straight [above],” he said.

XL2 also pointed out that a very Saturn-esque overwrite bug can be seen in the right corner of the water pool.

This is a screenshot XL2 provided of the MGS prototype running in Mednafen. A reflection using half transparency can be seen on the ground on the left side of the screen. At the lower-right, the water disappears on the right side of the pool — the result of an overwrite bug that would appear in a Saturn game.

“MGS has a pretty simple rendering engine. There is no portal or anything, so it doesn’t surprise me. I even toyed with the idea at one point of doing the Psycho Mantis level, but I gave up before I even started as I didn’t want to build a new engine for it.

“I never doubted that it’s possible, but that’s a lot of work!”— XL2

Originally written by Danthrax over at SEGA SATURN, SHIRO!

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