In comparison to Station Square or the Mystic Ruins, the Egg Carrier has received a less radical redesign in SADX. However, the changes introduced in this level range from minor improvements to serious loss of detail and vibrancy. Let’s have a look at what’s been lost in the transition.
An overview of the main area reveals better object draw distance in SADX, loss of the purple tint on level pieces and some minor texture differences:
The “different” texture used for the green glass floor in SADX is the same texture used for windows in SADX and the Dreamcast version. The unique green glass and reflection textures are not used in this area anymore, and some variations have been removed entirely, so texture variety in this area is reduced in SADX.
Since we’re looking at this overview, let’s talk about the sea textures used in this area when the Egg Carrier sinks. The ocean mesh has a semi-transparent cloud underneath, creating a shadow effect in the Dreamcast version. The ocean in Gamecube and PC versions is more transparent due to additive blending, and the water wave texture is no longer animated, which makes the sea look static and awkward. The strange looking “acid blue” color doesn’t help either:
The projector beams have some issues in SADX, but the issues are different in each port. The Gamecube version has a semi-transparent outline around each beam, while the PC version’s beams blink randomly. The blinking might be intentional as it is handled in code, but it almost looks like a bug:
Here’s an enhancement for a change. Some level pieces and objects are textured better in the ports, such as this turbine. This is one of the few things in the game that can be called an improvement without a long list of “buts” accompanying the change:
This is undeniably an improvement, but it doesn’t compensate for the downgrades this level has suffered. Some of such downgrades are caused by oversights on the developers’ part. For example, there is a glowing animated monorail logo that you’re supposed to see at the monorail station. In SADX it doesn’t display because the texture’s alpha channel makes the animation invisible. To be fair, the alpha channel is the same as in the Dreamcast texture, but the Dreamcast version has no problem displaying the animation:
The Sky Deck entrance has glowing lines (the monorail) running under green glass. In the PC version, unnecessary processing of material colors gives the glass an incorrect color. In addition, the lines disappear at some camera angles on Gamecube and PC, which doesn’t happen in the original game.
In Captain’s room, the ship captain’s seat is missing some pieces and animations. Also note the loss of transparency in the background mechanisms with green glass, and missing lighting in the ports. If you look closely you can also see that the skybox looks different in the ports. Its scale was altered because the original scale didn’t work well with the reduced draw distance in this area:
The cutscene showing the Egg Carrier transforming has dark fog in the Dreamcast version that enhances the atmosphere. The fog is disabled in the ports. Lighting on the Egg Carrier is also missing. If you look closer you can also notice how Eggman’s logo is chopped in half in the PC version because the developers edited the UVs on the model but forgot to mirror the texture:
Some minor enhancements in the pool area include added Eggman logos on the umbrellas, yellow vertex colors and improved collision, but the lighting and textures were made so bright it almost looks like a hospital.
Eggman’s private quarters also suffer from bad lighting in SADX. Note how the shading on objects becomes less detailed with each port:
The Dreamcast’s palettized lighting allows to create interesting multi-color effects, and this level uses a lot of color transitions. An example of such lighting is the glass table in this room, which lost its lighting in the Gamecube version and was made bluish green in the PC version because of unnecessary material colors:
The bridge area loses the green tint on everything and has brighter and simpler lighting. The Dreamcast version appears to have richer lighting than the Gamecube version, while the PC version is the worst of all three:
Object lighting has also suffered in SADX. For example, the doors have lost the green tint, which SADX tried to compensate with vertex colors, which in turn broke in the PC version. Also note how the lighting on Sonic is more generic in the ports:
In the original game, reflective green barriers show up on some doors during Gamma’s story to indicate that you can’t go inside. While the code for the barriers is still there in SADX, the function call to render the barrier’s model was disabled. As a result, these barriers are never seen in SADX.
The prison area remained mostly the same, although fog was reduced and some subtle lighting effects are missing on the ceiling fans. If you look closely you can also see that the secret Chao egg in one of the cells has lost its texture and is now solid black:
The buttons that you need to press to unlock the Egg Carrier Chao garden are broken in the ports. They are supposed to have a shiny reflective surface that consists of two layers, but they can’t render properly in SADX and show the tiles below instead:
Gamma’s upgrade rooms have lost their rich ambience because the unique palettes for level and character lighting are no longer there:
The Chao transporter effect is less vibrant and suffers from transparency issues in SADX:
The Egg Carrier has only marginal changes in SADX (such as better texturing of some level pieces and objects) that could be counted as improvements, but everything else is a major letdown. Looking at the two versions side by side is disappointing because it demonstrates the incredible amount of wasted potential for improvements in the supposedly “enhanced” port. To play the original version of this level, you can use the Dreamcast Conversion mod together with the Lantern Engine mod that reimplements Dreamcast lighting. More about mods here.