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Dolphin 5.0 is here, and brings with it awesome improvements

If you have ever wanted to play Metroid Prime in stereoscopic 3D, now is your chance. The Dolphin development team released the long-awaited 5.0 update to its excellent GameCube and Wii emulator.

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The new 5.0 update brings about a ton of new fixes. The most notable fix was making Dolphin perform a lot faster. According to the Dolphin 5.0 blog post, each version of Dolphin would sacrifice cool features for accuracy, which would also hinder performance. It was more important for games to perform as they were originally intended than to enable cheats. Well, with 5.0, not only is it the fastest Dolphin yet, a lot of those cool extras that could only be done on an emulator should be working.

There are a lot of graphical improvements as well. Depth matrix shader accuracy has been improved, which allowed textures in the distance to have depth and look more accurate when approaching. Other texture glitches, that had given games like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker a stuttery effect, were also addressed. With improvements in depth emulation, certain objects that were obscured by other objects aren’t so much an issue anymore, and objects in the distance look sharper.

Games that required time, like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask now are much more playable. Also, because GameCube and Wii were part of the standard definition generation, games that took advantage of progressive scan now run more smoothly.

Now there is proper system emulation as well, meaning that you can boot Dolphin to look as if you’re turning on your Wii. If someone wants, they can truly make an awesome HD Wii under their television. Another big improvement has been more accurate sound emulation. Previous versions of Dolphin would either have choppy music or sound latency. That’s not the case anymore. 5.0 sounds much more like a console experience. It works especially well with games that require frame-accurate button presses like Guitar Hero or Super Smash Bros. Melee.

As Dolphin continued through its years of development, there were some games that notoriously did not work correctly. Some thought that emulating “zfreeze” would be impossible. But the Dolphin development team muscled through and games like Mario Power Tennis and Star Wars Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike now work.

There are a slew of other fixes, but for competitive gamers, the increased Netplay performance is a godsend. Netplay is the ability to play local multiplayer games online. For the Super Smash Bros. Melee competitive scene, this is very important. Because the GameCube had very limited network access, the only way to play Melee was at a friend’s house. As the Melee scene continues to grow in popularity, Netplay will be the way many hone their skills.

Dolphin 5.0 is available to download now for free.