Recently, I took a chance on a weird bootleg of Silent Hill from Russia. I knew it could be crap, but it could also be interesting, so I took a chance. It turns out I might have found something interesting.
It is a US version, with the same serial number (SLUS-00707). The date on the disc states Jan 21 1999, which places this "version" right between the Trade Demo (Jan 16 1999) and the final version (9 Fev 1999). Altough, I've heard that early US copies of Silent Hill have a date of Jan 22 1999, but I was never able to confirm that or get my hands on one.
The words «лоаная версжя» on the CD, according to Google Translate, means: «A Broken Version».
Anyway, I played through the game trying to find matching evidence with the Trade Demo to confirm that this "version" is official and not a messed up pirate copy. All I had to find was leftovers from the Trade Demo yet to be corrected, and I did find three of them (there may be more).
First of, the «Bullet Adjust». In the Trade Demo, it maxed out at X5, but here, you can go up to X6, which is represented by a star instead of X6 like in the final. So it seems that they were working on that.
Like in the Trade Demo, the names of the save «Antique» and «Child's» were not yet changed to «Antique Shop» and «Child's Room».
And lastly, like in the Trade Demo, you don't meet the Mumblers for the first time here, but a little farther in the sewers.
So, I came to two conclusions. Either it is a prototype of an almost finished version of the game, or it might by an official but very uncommon early US release of the game.
Here's the download link if some wants to try it for themselves
Man, "полная версия" means "full version" in Russian. It's a common marketing trick from pirates for people to think this game is somehow better than other copies (although many PS and PC games sold by pirates had their cutscenes cut out or replaced with dummy videos). Ask me anything about Russian language or Russian versions of Silent Hill, I might be able to help.
Really? Damn, Google Translate was off or I didn't input the "symbols" correctly in the «Online Virtual Russian Keyboard» lol
As for the game, I'll admit, I skipped most of the cutscenes, but the ones I watched were all in english so I didn't bother much. All the in-game text was also in english. To me, the game looked like an early US release, very close to final.
There is one thing I would like to understand, it's the text on the back of the case:
No problem) It says the following: "The plot of this game makes your blood run cold. Both our time and Middle Ages (lol) have all tangled up into one snarl of riddles that you will have to untangle... The genre of the game is action-puzzle. Full 3D environment, dynamic camera, excellent sound". That kind of text was a common thing for pirated games) I keep wondering how those people could hack everything in the game and still make so poor translations or VO for them. This is the reason I've learned English and now I help some talented hackers to translate PS games into Russian so that people could enjoy them.
Pirated video games used to be really popular at least in Eastern Europe. You do not see them that often anymore around here, but I remember that there used to be a big market for fake cds, dvds and video games. PSX games were very popular. As previously mentioned pirates often made poor copies with misleading information and the disc might have been from a different game than the cover. Some years ago when I visited Russia (not Sankt Peterburg, Moskva or some other major city) I noticed there was still a very big market for pirated dvds and games with whole stores devoted to them, not just market place sellers. I've never bought pirated games. If I like a particular game I believe the developers deserve their money for their effort.
Very true, pirated games were a major part of the post-Soviet countries market, especially in the 90-s. Unfortunately, there were no original games whatsoever and getting an English copy from another country was too difficult and expensive because of the laws and customs procedure and so on, therefore those poorly translated versions were the only ones we could afford. They were very pricey and glitchy though. I still have four Resident Evil 1 CD's that get stuck at the very end of the game due to errors in its translation code. You can still find shops or places where people still keep selling those. I totally agree that people should support developers and buy their products fairly, but, considering the current dollar rate of exchange, not everybody can afford buying something from another country at the moment.
PS1 was released in 1994, but in countries of the former soviet union the availability of this console was limited for several reasons. So, not everyone could buy this console back in those days, even if had money. But then came the end of the 90s - in this period PS1 became much and much popular than ever before, it was available everywhere and for everyone and with friendly price. Before that - bootleg discs were only on english/+multi4-5 or japanese languages (some games were protected with anti modchip system and they were cracked by many hackers https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... acktro+ps1). But when this console acquired insane popularity - several enterprising people started to think about how to increase sales of pirated games (in those times anti-piracy law was like a joke and had no consequences). Solution was obvious - force their own employees/freelancers to translate content of all the games on russian language before selling it on the local market (even for countries where russian language isn't primary). And publish them with giant ugly inscription on the cover "РУССКАЯ ВЕРСИЯ" or "ПЕРЕВЕДЕНО И ОЗВУЧЕНО ПРОФЕССИОНАЛАМИ". And so now we have two general types of russian (or eastern europe) bootlegs with and without unofficial translation. It may seems confusing without knowing the history.
3. silent hill bootleg versions, that was translated. I wrote some info about this in the beginning of this post (>about first silent hill mod): viewtopic.php?p=7651408#p7651408
>it was replaced byte to byte - without rebuild of the iso, without codes, only HEX... It means that exe date usually (in most of them) wasn't changed by russian pirates, but internal content was. As you may know from the assemblergames thread - there's several different russian bootleg creators, which may have their translations on a different versions of the game (like another region or on non-retail builds). Here is known list of russian translated SH1 versions:
exe date - sony id - language/translation status - name of the company/translators team DD.MM.YY
[22.01.99][SLUS-00707][EN] - your bootleg version without in-game translation, but with russian cover. And yes this is beta as many others here. I see you have tried to detect exe date with windows explorer - it might display a little incorrect result. My exe date was taken with CDmage tool, that known as the most correct for CD file system.
I didn't fully understand what you meant but apart from what I previously said the only way to bypass those region locks is by modchips. The game in the pictures itself looks like a very typical Russian bootleg, it is not an official Russian version or something.