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Sega CD Description

The Sega CD is an add-on peripheral for the Sega Genesis that allows the use of CD-ROM games specially written for the Sega CD system.

"It can also be used as a regular CD player (the sound comes through the television) and has CD+G capability."

The sound can also come from a stereo system, provided that you connect the Sega CD to the amp via the RCA-type audio outputs on the rear of the console.

"The Genesis is connected to the Sega CD unit via the interface slot, and a/v hookups are made through the Sega CD unit instead of the Genesis."

Only the audio connections can be made through the Sega CD. The video feed is supplied only from the Genesis. In situations where the Sega CD is to be connected to the television only through the RF output, the use of the stereo output is not necessary.

In the case of RF connection with generation one, two, and three Genesis systems using the Sega CD, the sound mixing cable must not be used.
Otherwise, the RF signal feed will not have the sound from the Sega CD.
The mixing cable is to be used only if the stereo output facility on the Sega CD is going to used. The mixing cable is not necessary for generation four and five Genesis consoles. Generation listings for the Genesis is according to known mainboard revisions, not by the outer case design.

"The advantage of this is that games can take advantage of the sound provided directly by the compact disc in addition to sound effects from the Genesis unit itself."

The Sega CD also has an eight channel PCM synthesis set, similar to the Sony SPC-700 used in the Super Nintendo.
In fact, various games, like "Popful Mail", used both the Genesis and Sega CD for synthesizing the music. Some games, like the "past" levels "Sonic CD", used the Sega CD synthesis exclusively with minimal reliance on the Genesis sound set. "Sewer Shark" is one game that mostly used the Genesis sound set for music during gameplay while the Sega CD supplied for sound effects and speech.

There are currently (as of 1/02) 150 Sega CD titles in the U.S. Including the releases.

The Sega CD was released first in Japan as the "Mega CD", and was also released in Europe as the Mega CD.

Most Japanese and European games can be played on the U.S. Sega CD unit via a converter cartridge but without the cart, the Japanese and American systems are not compatible.

Q: What does the Sega CD do to improve the system?

A: Here's what it adds to the Genesis:

- 10 extra sound channels to complement the sound from the Genny's Z80 sound processor

- sprite enhancement features such as scaling and rotation, similar to that of the SNES Mode 7 What it did NOT improve was color.

The games still used 64 out of the total 512 colors possible (maybe more if you really knew how to tweak the system).

Why no color improvement? Supposedly, cost.

Sega's engineers reportedly wanted to include a new chip that would add to this, but it would have been an extra $5 part... which would more than likely translate to an extra $50 added to the cost of the machine.

Full sprite scaling and rotation were helpful, bringing new levels of excitement which weren't fully utilized (except perhaps in a few games from Core Development, Ltd.).

The Sega CD also allowed the Genesis to play FMV ("full-motion video").

The FMV was originally about 1/4 screen (Sewer Shark) but later expanded to that of Tomcat Alley (FULL screen).

Advantages of CD games: better sound, much more information can be stored on a CD than a cart (CD=650 MB, cart typically around 1 to 4 MB, currently as high as 32 MB).

CDs also theoretically have an infinite lifespan. Disadvantages of CD games: loading time can be a pain, CDs scratch easily.

Q: Are the Sega CD and Saturn compatible?

A: Not at all. They are two COMPLETELY different machines.

There were some rumors circulating back in '94/'95 that Sega would make an adapter that would allow you to play Sega CDs on a Saturn...

but evidently due to cost constraints of developing and manufacturing such a "Power Base"-type converter, it was determined to be not feasible for sale in the retail market.

Q: Is the Sega 32X compatible with the Sega CD?

A: Yes. When the 32X is mounted on top of the Genesis (attached to the Sega CD) there is absolutely NO interference to regular Sega CD games.

There were also six CD titles designed for use with the 32X (see Titles section) but all are just Sega CD titles ported over to take advantage of the 32X hardware. The difference is a noticeably clearer, crisper FMV and generally a larger screen.

These titles were also sold in yellow-stripe boxes (Digital Pictures titles), consistent with 32X cartridge packaging.

"Fahrenheit" (Sega) was sold as a combo pack, you got both the Sega CD version and the 32X CD version in one package.
NOTE: All Sega 32X CD titles are FMV-based games. Q: Is the Sega CD compatible with the TurboGrafx-CD/PC Engine CD/TurboDuo CD?

A: No, these are two entirely different game machines.

However, original Mega CD players COULD recognize a PC Engine CD (CD-ROM2), but could not play them.

A message appeared, informing you that a PC Engine CD was inserted in the unit.

Big thanks to Barry Cantin for letting me use the info above. And Reinhart for the update.