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Old 20 May 2020, 19:33   #1
mc68060
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Original Renegade by Taito - cracked by Quartex?

Something very strange happened to me. I bought a still sealed copy of Taito's Renegade on ebay (USA). After unpacking it the first strange thing I noticed was that the disk label had "Atari ST 520/1040" on it, although the box front says AMIGA.

So I thought that maybe it's just the wrong label and this is true because the disk actually contains the Amiga version of Renegade. However, after kryofluxing it, I noticed that the Renegade version on the disk is actually a Quartex crack. In the intro it says "Cracked by Quartex" and there is this text in the file "s/QUARTEX_SPEAKS!":

Quote:
Renegade (100%)
Cracked by THE BEST ... QUARTEX
The ONLY name in the BUSINESS.

Call THE LINK to PERFECTION:
(USA) 201-679-8477

This protection was so simple that only two groups could
have fucked it up: World of Wonders & Bencor Brothers !
Well this time World of Wonders fucked it up ...
But don't give up Bencor maybe you beat them next time !

ANYWAY THIS IS THE ONE AND ONLY 100% QUARTEX VERSION !

There CAN BE only ONE ... QUARTEX !
So WTF is this! Was Taito actually selling a Quartex crack of Renegade? I don't think that the person who sold this on ebay to me is a fraudster because everything in that copy of Renegade really feels like brand new and untouched and also the shrink wrap that I had to remove in order to unpack it really looks and feels like it's 30+ years old. So I don't think that anyone has tampered with it. It really looks like this was in the stores exactly like that 30 years ago. But can that be? Did they really sell a cracked-by-Quartex version of Renegade in the USA?

Funnily, there's still one item left on ebay because the seller apparently has two of it. See here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Renegade-So...sAAOSwNmhejLUl The one item that has been sold was bought by yours truly and it's cracked by Quartex..... WTF!
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Old 20 May 2020, 20:28   #2
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I don't know about this particular example, but I'm sure that selling amiga games to the US required to dump the copy protection, maybe because the discs were manufactured in the US where they didn't have the proper software?

Famous examples are the bitmap brothers titles: Magic Pockets, Gods, Speedball 2 were all sold with password protection instead in the US.
A version of Cadaver has no protection whatsoever too.

My guess is: they wanted to sell the game in the US, the original game was copy protected and not possible to duplicate in the US, the shipping costs were too high or something, so they decided to use a crack. That was this or no US sale... But if it's the case, they could have removed the cracktro/cracktext but maybe there was noone left to do that either...

I'm not sure about the "AmigaFun" or other magazines that proposed commercial games without any protection, but I'd be tempted to think that they also used existing cracks.
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Old 20 May 2020, 20:39   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jotd View Post
My guess is: they wanted to sell the game in the US, the original game was copy protected and not possible to duplicate in the US, the shipping costs were too high or something, so they decided to use a crack. That was this or no US sale... But if it's the case, they could have removed the cracktro/cracktext but maybe there was noone left to do that either...
Actually, they did remove the cracktext! I just checked out the startup-sequence and it looks like this:

Code:
;s/type s/QUARTEX_SPEAKS!
;s/wait 6
boot
So someone disabled the "cracktro". The file "QUARTEX_SPEAKS!" is still there, though (see OP) and there is a "CRACKED BY QUARTEX" message in the intro.

So it really looks like this is an original release of a cracked version. I'm wondering if it should be in SPS
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Old 20 May 2020, 20:43   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mc68060 View Post
So it really looks like this is an original release of a cracked version. I'm wondering if it should be in SPS
Absolutely. Everything should be preserved!
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Old 20 May 2020, 20:44   #5
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But unscrupulous people do reseal games and sell them as unopened!
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Old 20 May 2020, 20:49   #6
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But unscrupulous people do reseal games and sell them as unopened!
That was my first thought too. But as I said in the OP, everything that I unpacked looked and felt completely brand new, there are no signs at all that anything has been tampered with in any way and the shrink wrap I removed looks and feels like it has been on there for 30+ years. So I'd bet my ass that this is 100% genuine and not your typical ebay fraud.
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Old 20 May 2020, 22:12   #7
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I would rather support Havie's suggestion.
For NES/SNES/Megadrive there are not only cartidges reproduced, but completely new boxes printed and cut. You can buy the boxes officially. Just a quick googled example:
https://www.snesretroboxrevival.co.u...9_9552121.aspx
There are people who use those replicas to achieve higher selling prices. Of course not telling that it's a replica...

Perhaps someone thought you could try this also for other platforms ?

I'm not saying that you got a replica. But the possibility is definitely there. Especially with the crack on it an an AtariST label.
I wouldn't bet my ass if I were you .
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Old 20 May 2020, 22:56   #8
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Seems like Lotus 2 "NTSC version" was also a cracked version that was sold.

http://www.whdload.de/games/Lotus2.html
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Old 21 May 2020, 06:32   #9
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If this game was really sold as a cracked copy then surely they would have removed the "CRACKED BY QUARTEX" from the intro. I'd be asking the seller for a refund.
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Old 21 May 2020, 09:20   #10
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This happened sometimes for NTSC/USA releases, especially when there was no official release. A US store would buy the PAL box, then write a copy of the NTSC-fix with a patch to hide the scene notes/cracktro/etc. but you can still find leftover data from the cracker/fixer using a sector editor.
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Old 21 May 2020, 09:45   #11
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US stores were to write patches?
Where can I read about that? I still have difficulties to believe that.
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Old 21 May 2020, 10:00   #12
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Quote:
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US stores were to write patches?
Where can I read about that? I still have difficulties to believe that.
I don't know who exactly did the patching, maybe not the store employees themselves, but I've definitely encountered original disks sold with scene-released code but no cracktro or group identified in the game itself during normal gameplay -- it's only when you actually look at the code directly that you see the scene info.
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Old 21 May 2020, 11:02   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Konrad View Post
US stores were to write patches?
Where can I read about that? I still have difficulties to believe that.
I think what he means is they would pick the cracked version that had the NTSC check protection removed, which not all games had and not all cracks removed.

It was to stop grey importers selling the PAL version in the US, so some games (Bitmap Brothers and Psygnosis did it), would have an additional NTSC check, if they detected they were running on an NTSC Amiga, they just wouldn't run.

Quarter were known for removing stuff like NTSC checks because some of their members right at the start were American.
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Old 21 May 2020, 11:30   #14
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I meant it sounds in general unbelievable to me that US stores would overwrite original boxed PAL releases with cracked releases which had NTSC checks removed to be able to sell. In the US.
Surely this was already illegal back then. And this was supposedly tolerated?
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Old 21 May 2020, 11:48   #15
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I'm not saying that you got a replica. But the possibility is definitely there. Especially with the crack on it an an AtariST label.
I wouldn't bet my ass if I were you .
I don't think so. As I said, there are no hints at all that this is a replica. It looks and feels like 30 years old NOS (new old stock). It doesn't only contain the disk but also the manual, Taito warranty card (complete with the possibility to participate in a monthly draw) and a Taito game catalogue from the late 80s. All in perfectly brand new condition. Seriously, it would be complete nonsense to assume that somebody has taken the pain to reproduce all this stuff and then sell it for $44 on ebay.

On top of that, nobody would be so stupid to do this with utterly bullshit games like Renegade. If they really did that, they would choose games you could really cash in on (e.g. legendary stuff like Wings of Fury, Prince of Persia, Moonstone but definitely NOT crappy Renegade). Nobody except me seems to care about it anyway because the other copy that the guy had is still up for sale, see here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Renegade-So...sAAOSwNmhejLUl

I also have the US release of Bubble Bobble which comes in the same comic sleeve boxing and I compared it to Renegade and it's easy to see that this is exactly the same packaging. It matches perfectly. So I think it's really impossible that the item I bought is fake.

Still, I remember reading something about Kryoflux guys being able to tell from the disk images whether a disk was professionally duplicated or not? Is this true? Would it be possible for someone to analyze the image that I've dumped to tell if the disk was professionally duplicated or not?
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Old 21 May 2020, 11:52   #16
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Originally Posted by mc68060 View Post
Seriously, it would be complete nonsense to assume that somebody has taken the pain to reproduce all this stuff and then sell it for $44 on ebay.
It really wouldn't. Get a few hundred boxes made and some documentation printed in China, buy a shrinkwrap machine, and you're making an absolute killing.
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Old 21 May 2020, 12:24   #17
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It really wouldn't. Get a few hundred boxes made and some documentation printed in China, buy a shrinkwrap machine, and you're making an absolute killing.
This guy has been selling 2 (in words: TWO) copies of this game on ebay. One was bought by yours truly, one is still available. We're not talking about a few hundred boxes but two copies. And I think it's very very difficult to do a replica that can't be easily identified as a replica. I remember there were some fake Giana Sisters versions around and it could clearly be seen that those were replicas by looking at scan artefacts etc. You'd need to find a way to digitize the source material and this is often not possible without certain losses in quality.

And if this guy was really able to create replicas that look and feel 100% genuine he surely wouldn't have shipped them with an Atari ST label and a cracked version on the disk, wouldn't he?

Sorry guys, but this thing is 100% genuine. I have absolutely no doubts about that.
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Old 21 May 2020, 12:28   #18
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as long as you own the rights, nothing is illegal. Jim Power CD32 will be out based on a whdload version with audio tracks ripped from another platform. The seller has the rights, he can use whatever means he chooses to distribute the program. If it was a floppy rerelease, he could have used a cracked version (and yes, he's american too )
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Old 21 May 2020, 19:00   #19
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And also it's not really far fetched because some of the Hit Squad and Kixx budget releases are known cracked versions.
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Old 21 May 2020, 20:34   #20
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Ok, if you know that for sure, then I stand corrected.
How did they make sure that those were proper cracks?
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