Gradius 2 VRC4 questoins

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Gilbert
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Post by Gilbert » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:02 pm

Yeah I've read that too (from the incomplete mapper info in the Wiki at least), but it seems that besides the lockout chips they also used a variant of the MMC3 manufactured by themselves. So it's possible that they're on an agreement with Nintento to pay to use their parts and their circuits.

tepples
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Post by tepples » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:11 am

I seem to remember that NOA loosened up on some developers that continued to support the NES even after the Genesis had been out.

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SatoshiMatrix
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Post by SatoshiMatrix » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:21 pm

Hey guys, I wanted to revive this thread because I just saw retrozone now has an NES reproduction copy of Gradius II for sale.

http://www.retrousb.com/product_info.ph ... cts_id=112

How is this possible? Have they cloned the VRC4 somehow or this a port to some other mapper? I'm very eager to learn more about this. I would love to own Gradius II in physical format.

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MottZilla
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Post by MottZilla » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:35 pm

It's just a CPLD with the PowerPAK VRC4 fuse-map/verilog/whatever on it. So yes it's "cloned". If you want to own it on a cartridge, go ahead and buy it. It's nothing amazing (technically). It's nice certainly, but not surprising at all. Kid Dracula which also uses VRC4 is also available at RetroZone now and I recommend that game too.

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SatoshiMatrix
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Post by SatoshiMatrix » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:42 pm

I haven't heard about this. So if Gradius II has been cloned, is it possible to make a reproduction of Gradius II using an existing NES cart? I love retrozone don't get me wrong, but I'd rather not pay $45+shipping for the NES version of something I already have for the Famicom.

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Post by bunnyboy » Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:12 am

There is no NES cart that uses the VRC4, so you would have to use a pin converter + Famicom cart inside the NES cart case. Probably better to get a Famicom or clone and use the cart you have already.

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MottZilla
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Post by MottZilla » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:31 am

You seem to be missing what I said. The PowerPAK lead to the development of the cloned hardware behavior of the VRC4. RetroZone (bunnyboy) can certainly take this information and put it on an appropriate CPLD, think of it as a programmable mapper chip. And ofcourse he has designed PCBs so thus making a game like Gradius II or Kid Dracula is not an issue.

However if you mean a cheap repro that people make by hacking up old game cartridges, that doesn't work for VRC4 since only Japanese games have that mapper. And those carts are more expensive and to use them in a NES you then need the converter.

Price wise the Gradius II on RetroZone is fairly competitive. Someone making a repro out of a converter and original famicom cart probably won't be able to do much better on price. The quality should be good.

But you say you already have the Famicom cartridge, so as he said you are better off playing it on a Famicom system or through a converter. If you wanted you could always put it into a NES cartridge yourself if you can make a nice label up.

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SatoshiMatrix
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Post by SatoshiMatrix » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:56 pm

bunnyboy, is there any performance difference between the new NES reproduction and the Famicom VRC4 original? For instance, slowdown, flicker, artifacting etc? Gradius II is one of the more impressive games for the Famicom.

Also I'm assuming this version is based on the original Famicom release and not the Graidus II AC rom hack that greatly improves it? To be honest that's the version I'd like to see. If you'd like I can email you a fully patched rom to take a look at if you are unaware of what I'm talking about.

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MottZilla
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Post by MottZilla » Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:19 pm

What ROM hack is this? What does it improve?

I would guess that the cart on RetroZone is identical in operation to the Famicom original cart.

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RLError
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Post by RLError » Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:32 pm

SatoshiMatrix wrote:Also I'm assuming this version is based on the original Famicom release and not the Graidus II AC rom hack that greatly improves it? To be honest that's the version I'd like to see. If you'd like I can email you a fully patched rom to take a look at if you are unaware of what I'm talking about.
People have trouble getting that patch to work because they don't know that they need to patch it with this patch first:

http://www.geocities.jp/gx587/ips/fc_gr ... rev022.zip


Afterward, find and use the patch found on this blog:

http://messatu.wordpress.com/

and it should work.

Nestopia 1.40 won't play it but FCEUX and Nestopia 1.37 will.

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SatoshiMatrix
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Post by SatoshiMatrix » Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:28 pm


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tokumaru
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Post by tokumaru » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:33 am

RLError wrote:Nestopia 1.40 won't play it
This is not a good sign if the ultimate goal is to put the game on a cart. Not that Nestopia is the ultimate almighty emulator or anything (it's pretty good though, from my own personal tests it has almost always behaved the most like the actual hardware), but if the original game works on it and the patched one doesn't, this is a sign that something is wrong. Even if it works on hardware, it might be just unstable enough to break under certain circumstances.

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MottZilla
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Post by MottZilla » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:59 am

Does the hack work on the PowerPAK? Personally I'd rather have the original version (which I do) on a cartridge than some hack that tinkers with the graphics. But that is my personal opinion.

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SatoshiMatrix
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Post by SatoshiMatrix » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:56 am

Yes it certainly does work on the Powerpak. The Gradius II AC graphics hack isn't as pronounced as the Gradius 1 hack that vastly improves the Famicom Gradius visually and structurally, but I still wholeheartedly recommend checking it out. The differences are all cosmetic, using new sprites, tilesets and color pallets that are much more similar to the arcade version of Gradius II.

Sawate
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Post by Sawate » Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:28 pm

Hey Bunnyboy, Happy New Year! Hoping you can confirm if you received the email I sent to your company site. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!
Last edited by Sawate on Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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