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Old 25 June 2018, 21:15   #1
BarryB
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Three Stooges PAL, what protection?

Have the Mirrorsoft version of The Three Stooges but it's using some form of hidden/weak copy protection as a plain ADF just doesn't work, just loads slowly from track 56 downwards!

Codetappers interview with Mr Copylock says it was protected with Copylock but running my Disk 1 streams through disk-utilities shows no Copylock or the hidden sector variety?

So is it some form of weak sectors somewhere?
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Old 26 June 2018, 00:44   #2
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Have the Mirrorsoft version of The Three Stooges but it's using some form of hidden/weak copy protection as a plain ADF just doesn't work, just loads slowly from track 56 downwards!

Codetappers interview with Mr Copylock says it was protected with Copylock but running my Disk 1 streams through disk-utilities shows no Copylock or the hidden sector variety?

So is it some form of weak sectors somewhere?
Try breaking the CLI (CTRL D) and then type 3S and then return and see if that works

There is a encrypted loader that is first in the startup-sequence, which does that reading of tracks from 56 to 54, but this game is supposed to be hard drive installable.

Definitely not Copylock, it could possibly be something Rob Northen knocked up for Mirrorsoft that bears no relation to Copylock (he did have two other protection schemes that were nothing to do with Copylock), but either way, I bypassed that encrypted first program in the startup-sequence and let the 3S file boot, and i've been playing it to disk 2 so far and no problems, I really doubt Rob Northen did this one.

Last edited by Galahad/FLT; 26 June 2018 at 01:01.
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Old 26 June 2018, 01:14   #3
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Yeah, that's what I found too, loading the 3S program loads the game, so the (c)Cinemware program does the actual protection check! Another fine example of lame implementation of copy protection bypassed without a byte being altered!

The read.me on disk 2 says to run 3S but put Disk 1 in the drive first, the installers don't copy the (c)Cinemaware program so why do you need Disk 1 in the drive?

So what's hidden between tracks 54-56?
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Old 26 June 2018, 08:48   #4
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Encryption/protection code is definitely not made by Rob Northen, he has a completely different coding style. And the encryption is way too weak, 2 minutes and you have a fully decrypted binary. Code looks more like something Ben Herndon could've made to me.

And it somehow reminds me of the TV Sports Football protection.
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Old 26 June 2018, 11:58   #5
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It's 2 minutes if you know what you are doing

Yeah, I have TV Sports Football too but protection is on T1.0/T1.1 on my copy. Using disk-utilities i can make a working copy by using a long track for T1.0 (105500 bytes) and the 'Interceptpr Software' protection on track 1.1, that seems to make it work.

Is it the HLS protection?

Can't make a working copy of Three Stooges though with disk-utilities, probably unsupported protection!
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Old 26 June 2018, 13:54   #6
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Quote:
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Encryption/protection code is definitely not made by Rob Northen, he has a completely different coding style. And the encryption is way too weak, 2 minutes and you have a fully decrypted binary. Code looks more like something Ben Herndon could've made to me.

And it somehow reminds me of the TV Sports Football protection.
I second Stingy. Smells a lot like Ben Herndon HLS protection. I will check that more carefully tonight when back home.
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Old 29 June 2018, 19:27   #7
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I second Stingy. Smells a lot like Ben Herndon HLS protection. I will check that more carefully tonight when back home.
Did you get chance to check what the actual protection is?
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Old 29 June 2018, 22:23   #8
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Did you get chance to check what the actual protection is?
Ok, can you up somewhere your KF dump of Three stooges please ?

From the IPF, i can't see anything.
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Old 29 June 2018, 22:36   #9
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Check PM!
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Old 29 June 2018, 23:41   #10
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Protection by..........

Rob Northen

It's not Copylock obviously as its far too early for it, because the first attempt at what became Copylock was in 1988 and this is a year too early.

In the ART directory on disk 1 is a file called "rnc", its not once referenced in the main "3S" game file (unless its encrypted and I can't see it), but when the "(C)Cinemaware" file decrypts and runs, there is a reference within that file for "art/rnc".
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Old 30 June 2018, 00:16   #11
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I saw that file when I decrypted the (c)cinemare file, it's an encrypted executable but I don't think it's executed at all, at least I didn't see any calls to the code which decrypts and runs that very file.
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Old 30 June 2018, 00:25   #12
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I saw that file when I decrypted the (c)cinemare file, it's an encrypted executable but I don't think it's executed at all, at least I didn't see any calls to the code which decrypts and runs that very file.
No its not executed, the protection is broken. Theres references to the file in the code, but that code isn't executed, so I can't quite see the point of the protection, because it just doesn't work.
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Old 30 June 2018, 18:44   #13
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So it is a Rob Northern protection then, that's interesting to know, was it used on any other games before Copylock became more widely used?
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Old 30 June 2018, 20:08   #14
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So it is a Rob Northern protection then, that's interesting to know, was it used on any other games before Copylock became more widely used?
I wouldn't say no for definite, as i'd never seen this one like this before.

His protection systems went through a genesis.

On Daley Thompsons Decathlon he wrote his first protection that would eventually turn into Copylock series 1.

Lots of decryption loops, but not obscured by a trace vector decoder. On later games, he figured out how to encrypt all those decryption loops with a trace vector decoder, and Copylock was born.

I'm guessing this type of protection was only for games that originated in the US and were then European released, and for whatever reason, different copy protection had to be used.
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Old 30 June 2018, 22:21   #15
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What about Barbarian (Palace) and StarRay, they seem to use something similar for protection?

Was piracy more rife in Europe than the US, would that lead to tougher protections on EU releases?
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Old 30 June 2018, 22:24   #16
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What about Barbarian (Palace) and StarRay, they seem to use something similar for protection?

Was piracy more rife in Europe than the US, would that lead to tougher protections on EU releases?
With the exception of Readysoft games, yes, usually more physical protection on European releases.

Americans were used to backing up their software, so they typically had novella type protections (page word paragraph), whereas the European markets knew that people would accept it regardless of what protection it had.

Will check out Barbarian and Starray.

Edit: Had already seen Barbarian a while ago, but checking it, yes, its another early Rob Northen protection the same as The 3 Stooges, except this one actually works!

Code is the same, it loads the file "libs/mathtrans.library" which is fake, its actually the encrypted Barbarian game file executable.

Edit 2: Just checked out Starray, I can see the initials "CHW" in the bootblock which is Christian Weber, and I don't think he needed Rob Northens help for anything lol!

Last edited by Galahad/FLT; 30 June 2018 at 22:43.
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Old 01 July 2018, 00:29   #17
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Yeah, we still have that 'accept anything' mentality today, no wonder this country is in such a mess!! Probably why we had to put up with tapes on the C64 while the US had disks!

So Barbarian is another early Rob Northern protected game, and it's mentioned in Codetappers list too, thanks for confirming that.
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Old 01 July 2018, 13:54   #18
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Barbarian The ultimate Warrior Barry ? Yes it's a copylocked game.
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Old 01 July 2018, 14:49   #19
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Barbarian The ultimate Warrior Barry ? Yes it's a copylocked game.
It absolutely is NOT Copylock ffs

I've already explained what it is.

A Copylock is:

1. A Trace Vector Decoder
2. Checks for time to read a track on second half of track 0

Barbarian and The 3 Stooges doesn't do or have anything like that.
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Old 01 July 2018, 21:22   #20
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It absolutely is NOT Copylock ffs

I've already explained what it is.

A Copylock is:

1. A Trace Vector Decoder
2. Checks for time to read a track on second half of track 0

Barbarian and The 3 Stooges doesn't do or have anything like that.
Oh indeed, i'm mixing up Barbarian with Barbarian II DOD.
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