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Sega CD

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Title Screen

Sega CD

Also known as: Mega-CD (JP), Sega Mega-CD (EU/AU), CD Aladdin Boy (KR)
Developer: Sega
Publishers: Sega (JP/US/EU/AU), Tec Toy (BR), Samsung (KR)
Released in JP: December 12, 1991
Released in US: October 15, 1992
Released in EU: April 19, 1993
Released in AU: March 1993
Released in KR: March 1993
Released in BR: October 1993


RegionIcon.png This console has regional differences.
Carts.png This console has revisional differences.


The Sega CD was Sega's answer to the PC-Engine CD in Japan. It had fairly decent third-party support and a strong launch showing in Japan (where the Mega Drive was never in first place)... but between the Super Famicom's popularity in Japan, and Sega of America and Sega Europe's insistence on shoving out FMV games, that success just could not last anywhere. In fact, all those FMV games are what it's mostly remembered for now.

Version Differences

Variant Sega/Mega-CD systems include:

  • Sega CD (US)/Mega-CD (Japan, Asia, Europe/Australia) [1991] - The original add-on model for separate Genesis/Mega Drive and Genesis 2 consoles.
  • Wondermega (JP) [1992] - An all-in-one Mega Drive and Mega-CD, usually with other extra features. Both Sega and Victor marketed Wondermega models.
  • Sega CD 2 (US)/Mega-CD 2 (Japan, Europe/Australia) [1993] - A cost-reduced add-on model for separate Genesis and Genesis 2 consoles, with a totally revised form factor.
  • Sega PAC (Japan, US) [1993] - One of several add-on modules for Pioneer's LaserActive LaserDisc player (others include the NEC PAC for the PC Engine family). Allows the system to play not only Genesis and Sega CD games, but also the exclusive "LaserActive Mega LD" format: essentially, a LaserDisc with a similar game program to a Sega CD (these games constitute their own separate platform with a separate software library).
  • Wondermega M2 (JP)/X'eye (US) [1993] - An all-in-one Genesis and Sega CD, usually with other extra features. A revised model of the original Wondermega, this time marketed just by Victor. The M2 version was the basis for the X'Eye, marketed in the US by Victor's parent company, JVC.
  • CDX (US)/Multi-Mega (EU/AU)/Linguaphone Education Gear (JP) [1994] - An all-in-one Genesis, Sega CD, and portable CD player.
  • Aiwa CSD-GM1 (Japan) [1994] - A rare Aiwa portable stereo with a Mega Drive and Mega-CD integrated.

BIOS Versions

Hmmm...
To do:
See if any of these BIOSes will just load arbitrary code (not check the game region).

There are many, many, many different versions of the Sega CD BIOS, each featuring their own boot screens and UIs, and each running on a different set of Mega Drives.
Bios versions greater than 2.00 can use the Sega Mega Mouse for the controlling of menus.

(Source: SegaRetro (Sega Mega-CD/Boot ROM))

Note: The Intro Type and UI Type numbering is arbitrary and provided for expository purposes only. They do not represent any sort of official classification or order.

System Region BIOS Ver. Timestamp Will the system run if connected to a Mega Drive that comes from... Intro Type UI Type MMM Type
...Japan? ...Asia? ...the US? ...Europe?
Mega-CD (model 1) Japan 1.00g 11/20-1991 17:00 Yes Yes Yes Yes 1 1 1
Mega-CD (model 1) Japan 1.00l 12/02-1991 15:20 Yes Yes Yes Yes 1 1 1
Mega-CD (model 1) Japan 1.00o 12/06-1991 10:10 Yes No No No 1 1 1
Mega-CD (model 1) Japan 1.00p 12/17-1991 12:00 Yes No No No 1 1 1
Mega-CD (model 1) Japan 1.00S 12/28-1991 18:30 Yes No No No 1 1 1
Mega-CD (model 1) Asia 1.00S 12/28-1991 20:30 Yes Yes No Yes 1 1 1
Sega CD (model 1) US 1.00 08/04-1992 03:00 No No Yes No 2 2 1
Sega CD (model 1) US 1.10 10/11-1992 18:30 No No Yes No 2 2 1
Mega-CD (model 1) Europe 1.00 10/27-1992 15:15 No No No Yes 3 1 1
Wondermega (Victor) Japan ? ? Yes ? ? ? 7-A 1 3
Wondermega (Sega) Japan 1.00W 02/06-1992 01:30 Yes No No No 7-A 1 3
Mega-CD 2 Japan 2.00c 12/22-1992 14:00 Yes Yes Yes Yes 4 1 2
Sega CD 2 US 2.00 03/14-1993 01:00 No No Yes No 5 3 2
Mega-CD 2 Europe 2.00 03/30-1993 12:00 No No No Yes 6 3 2
Sega CD 2 US 2.00W 06/01-1993 20:00 No No Yes No 5 3 2
Mega-CD 2 Europe 2.00W 06/01-1993 20:00 No No No Yes 6 3 2
Sega CD 2 US 2.11X 06/21-1993 16:00 No No Yes No 5 3 2
Sega PAC for LaserActive Japan 0.98 03/29-1993 17:00 Yes No No No 9 Inaccessible Inaccessible
Sega PAC for LaserActive US 0.98 03/29-1993 17:00 No No Yes No 9 Inaccessible Inaccessible
Sega PAC for LaserActive US 1.04 09/22-1993 17:00 No No Yes No 9 Inaccessible Inaccessible
Sega PAC for LaserActive Japan 1.05 10/07-1993 11:00 Yes No No No 9 Inaccessible Inaccessible
Wondermega M2 Japan 2.00 05/27-1993 13:20 Yes No No No 7-B 4-A 4
X'Eye US 2.00 12/27-1993 16:30 Yes Yes Yes Yes 8 4-B 4
Aiwa CSD-GM1 Japan 2.11c 05/28-1993 14:00 Yes Yes No No 4 1 2
CDX US 2.21X 09/07-1993 19:00 No No Yes No 5 3 Unknown
Multi-Mega Europe 2.21X 09/16-1993 14:00 No No No Yes 6 3 Unknown
Linguaphone Education Gear Japan ? ? Yes No No No 6 3 Unknown
(Source: GerbilSoft (region compatibility))

Intro Types

Hmmm...
To do:
  • Get higher quality videos of some of these.

Note: Different BIOS builds and/or different hardware may feature minor variations on what is otherwise the same intro type, such as changes to version numbering, copyright or labeling changes (e.g. Intro Types 7-A and 7-B).

Intro Type Screenshot BIOS Music Notes
1 Mega CD-JP-title.png 01

Typically used by: Japanese and Asian BIOS version 1.x on Mega-CD 1 systems

Depicts the Japanese Mega-CD logo animated against a sky backdrop.

A replica of this boot screen, complete with music, also appears as a gag in Panic! as scene 12-D. (Footage) The US localization of that game does not change the scene at all, even though no American Sega CD model features this boot screen.

2 Sega CD-title.png 02

Typically used by: US BIOS version 1.x on Sega CD 1 systems

Depicts the Sega CD and SEGA logos animated against a space backdrop. Neither the first part of the animation, nor the first part of the background music, loop.

3 Mega CD-EU-title.png 01

Typically used by: European BIOS version 1.x on Mega-CD 1 systems

Depicts the European Mega-CD Logo and the SEGA logo animated against a space backdrop, similar (but not identical) to Intro Type 2.

4 Mega CD 2-JP-title.png 01

Typically used by: Japanese BIOS version 2.x on, e.g., Mega-CD 2 systems

Depicts the Japanese Mega-CD 2 logo (the only region with a Mega-CD 2 logo) and the SEGA logo, animated against a backdrop which features some geometric solids and Sonic striking one of his trademark poses. Among the animations are some that move the logos through the layer behind the shapes.

5 Sega CD 2-title.png 03

Typically used by: US BIOS version 2.x on, e.g. Sega CD 2 systems

Depicts the Sega CD and SEGA logos animated against the same space backdrop from Intro Type 2.

The animations are nearly (if not exactly) identical to those in Intro Type 4, but since the backdrop is different, they may look odd at times.

6 Mega CD 2-EU-title.png 01

Typically used by: European BIOS version 2.x on, e.g. Mega-CD 2 systems

Depicts the European Mega-CD logo and the SEGA logo animated against a similar backdrop to Type 4's, the biggest change being the replacement of Sonic with a yellow CD.

Unlike Type 4, Type 6's animations keep the logos permanently layered on top of everything in the backdrop and no longer pass them behind the shapes. Otherwise, the animations are nearly (if not entirely) identical to the other versions.

7-A Wondermega-title.png 01

Typically used by: Japanese BIOS version 1.x on Sega/Victor Wondermega systems

The first of the Wondermega "Type 7" variants. Depicts a static Wondermega logo and an animated "W" logo against a spherical torus backdrop (from the Victor model's box art) whose colors cycle through the rainbow.

The two Type 7 intros are identical except for their instruction captions and copyright information. In Type 7-A, they read as follows:

Copyright Instruction
©SEGA 1991 Ver 1.00 スタートボタンを押して下さい
(Press the Start Button)
7-B Victor Wondermega M2-title.png 01

Typically used by: Japanese BIOS version 2.x on Victor Wondermega M2 systems

The second "Type 7" variant. identical to Type 7-A in every way, except for the instruction caption and copyright information having been revised as follows:

Copyright Instruction
©VICTOR Co./SEGA 1993 Ver 2.00 ディスクチェック中
(Checking Disc)

While the BIOS builds used by the Wondermega and Wondermega M2 both use very similar Type 7 variant boot screens, they use entirely different UIs from each other.

8 X'Eye-title.png 01

Typically used by: US BIOS version 2.x on X'Eye systems

Another variant of Intro Type 7, virtually identical to the others apart from a) the obvious replacement of all the Wondermega branding with JVC and X'Eye branding, and b) the removal of a few animations. The X'Eye's BIOS otherwise shares its UI with the Wondermega M2.

9 Laseractive-title.png N/A
Typically used by: Japanese and US BIOS version 0.98–1.x on the Sega PAC add-on for LaserActive

The Sega PAC uses a barebones menu with Pioneer branding and copyright information. The screen has some animation: a large LaserActive logo zooming into the screen and stopping once it gets close, accompanied with a little descending whoosh sound.

This screen is unresponsive in emulators or actual Mega/Sega CD systems, possibly due to differences between the respective hardware of the Sega PAC and conventional Mega-CD systems.

UI Types

Note: Different BIOS builds and/or different hardware may feature minor variations on what is otherwise the same UI type, such as minor design or labelling changes.

UI Type Screenshot Notes
1 Mega CD-JP-UI.png
Typically used by: Japanese, Asian and European BIOS version 1.x on Mega-CD 1 systems and Sega/Victor Wondermega systems; Japanese BIOS version 2.x on Mega-CD 2 systems
2 Sega CD-UI.png
Typically used by: US BIOS version 1.x on Sega CD 1 systems
3 Sega CD 2-UI.png
Typically used by: US and European BIOS version 2.x on Sega/Mega-CD 2 systems
4-A Victor Wondermega M2-UI.png
Typically used by: Japanese BIOS version 2.x on Victor Wondermega M2 systems
4-B X'Eye-UI.png
Typically used by: US BIOS version 2.x on JVC X'Eye systems

A slight variant of UI Type 4-A which drops both the Pitch button and the "MUSIC" caption along the top of the interface.

Memory Management Menu

Hmmm...
To do:
  • See if other BIOSes (CDX and Aiwa) have different icons for the save manager screen.
  • Rip the Icons from the ROM for better viewing (This might be hard because the Icons seem to be compressed in the ROM somewhere)

Boot ROMs intended for different models of Sega CD hardware, appropriately enough, change the console's icon in the save data management menu to match their model.
Note: The language used on this screen is either English or Japanese depending on the region of the BIOS, but the icons remain the same regardless of region.

UI Type Screenshot Notes
1 SegaCD-Model1-SaveManagmentSCR.png Used on Model 1 systems.
2 SegaCD-Model2-SaveManagmentSCR.png Used on Model 2 systems and the Aiwa CSD-GM1.
(Source: AERGAN])
3 SegaCD-WonderMegaRG-M1-SaveManagmentSCR.png
Used on the Victor Wondermega RG-M1
4 SegaCD-Xeye-SaveManagmentSCR.png
Used on the Victor Wondermega RG-M2 and JVC X'Eye. Interesting to note is that the X'Eye uses a different font for English text, while the Wondermega M2 uses the same font for Japanese text as the Model 1, Model 2 and RG-M1 Models. The palette on this screen is also slightly different causing the Backup RAM Cartridge to appear slightly darker.

Region Lockout

Some Sega CD Boot ROMs have checks in place to prevent you from mixing and matching different region Sega CDs and Geneses (Genesi?). If the Boot ROM with region locking detects a region mismatch at boot, then it will display a message in black text on a light blue background. This message changes depending on which region of Sega CD you have.

Japan US Europe
SegaCD-RegionLockout-JP.png SegaCD-RegionLockout-US.png SegaCD-RegionLockout-EU.png

Interestingly enough some Boot ROMs that don't region lock consoles (such as the JVC X'Eye's Boot ROM) have the message for the lock out still inside the ROM viewable through a hex editor.
Early Boot ROMs such as 1.00g seem to be the exception

(Source: Original TCRF research)