While we're on the subject of MSX systems... how do cassette drives hook up to the system? Has anyone here actually used one before? I know it's like, the most volatile media format in the world, but... I kinda want one anyway, just so I can start collecting and playing cassette games (and save King Kong 2!).
There should be a "cassette" port on the back of your system (maybe MSX2+ systems do not have this?). My system is actually an MSX2, but has had its memory and BIOS upgraded to MSX2+ spec. I've got a port on the back labeled "cassette" that looks like the AV out.
This will apparently let you connect an Android device to the cassette port via custom cable and load CAS images. MSX2CAS android app
My Megaflashrom arrived today so I thought I'd just give a little review.
First of all, it's a very professional looking product. The cart looks like your standard MSX cart with a nice label attached. I went with the single slot cart, so there is a small slot in the plastic for you to insert your microSD. My ONLY complaint with the whole thing is that the slot isn't cut as cleanly as I would like, but don't get me wrong- no problems at all inserting removing the microSD.
The most recent tutorial linked on the Megaflashrom homepage is a little old. The latest version of the cart comes with a nice menu system called Multimente. Just follow the instructions in the tutorial to format and set up partitions on your microSD, drop your ROMs in, and you are ready to go. I suggest splitting your ROMs up into folders on the microSD so that loading is quicker.
Starting your MSX with the Megaflashrom cart inserted into slot 1 brings up Mulimente. From there you just switch to drive "b:" and select the game to load. The cart will load the game into memory and drop you back at the menu. From here, just reset and the game will boot from the flash cart. You can hold ESC while booting the MSX to skip the game in memory and go to Multimente.
Every game I have tried works flawlessly... with one exception. Metal Gear 2 doesn't play nicely with expansion slots, so you need to load it slightly differently from other games.
Direct from the source:
Metal Gear 2 has a bug that prevents it working from a subslot (if you insert the original cartridge in a slot expander it will not work) MegaFlashROM SCC+ SD works as a slot expander, so you need to disable the subslots. Just load the game from command line adding the /U option. I.e.:
OPFXSD MGEAR2.ROM /U
I've verified that this works fine, and of course once you've done it once the game is kept in memory with the subslots disabled, so from then on just turn the MSX on and MG2 boots fine.
SCC audio works perfectly (really impressive imo, sounds way better on actual hardware compared with emulation), though I have not tried using the cart as a pure SCC sound cart for the Konami disk games that came bundled with the device (Snatcher and SD Snatcher I think).
My only other complaint has nothing to do with the cart itself but with the MSX OS. Because it uses DOS file names can only be up to 8 characters long. Anything longer will be shortened just like in DOS on PCs: "MetalGear2" becomes "METALG~1." This makes it a bit of a pain if you just drop a bunch of ROMs in a folder without shortening/renaming them.
Post by Dee Liteyears on Jun 9, 2015 8:11:43 GMT -5
Ah, good to know. I'm still waiting for mine to arrive (our postal services are on strike >_> ) I think I read the tutorial you mean a few weeks ago. I'm already familiar to the filename stuff thanks to my old MFR-SCC. Gonna pay the repair later, so I can get my MSX back from Retrospiel. The guy who repaired it said it wouldn't be the worst idea to replace all the capacitors (the one that was responsible for the faulty RGB signal looked like from a splatter movie) Though that would double the repaircosts and I don't really have the money for that too atm^^' I better start to create some Multirom.OPFs now
Dee Liteyears Good to hear you got the RGB all squared away Honestly, with the new menu system you really don't even need to make any Multirom.OPFs. As long as you don't have more than 511 ROMs in a single folder, it will display them all. It's not like in the old tutorial where you need to load everything by command line.
Luckily the USB floppy drive I bought was one of the ones that is able to write MSX disks with no problem, and I just tape over the notch on my HD disks so the MSX can read them
One other complaint about the Megaflashrom: doesn't seem like you can use it as an SCC cart to play SD Snatcher I am also having a ton of trouble getting Sofarun (menu system) to load Konami games with Game Master 2 support. I really want to play Metal Gear 1, but would like to be able to save it...
Post by Dee Liteyears on Jun 9, 2015 12:23:28 GMT -5
just got my MSX back. RGB seems to work fine now, though on my old TV I hardly notice any difference^^' Gonna try it on our LCD later once I found a SCART extension cable. Hell, why did I bought such a short RGB cable >_> Anyway, I also just got two 4GB SD cards, so once the MFR arrives I'm prepared. Well, except for the fact that I still need that stupid SCART to BNC adapter
What was your RGB issue? My MSX has some color bleeding, especially when it displays red, but I assumed that's just because I'm hooking it into an HDTV via composite cables -- a lot of stuff has color bleeding when it's hooked to HDTVs through composite.
Should I be worried that it's more than that, though?
Post by Dee Liteyears on Jun 9, 2015 18:25:16 GMT -5
The sync signal was screwed up and the picture ran constantly from the top to bottom and from side to side. Here's the repairlog, though it's in german circuit-board.de/forum/index.php/Thread/17618-MSX-2-SONY-HB-F1-XV-Repairlog/?postID=450082#post450082 Seems like there still some issues left. As said, on one socket it does look like composite on my CRT. On the other I don't even get a signal. The only thing it did before the repair was triggering the TV's RGB mode (switched to the channel when I turned power on) Now I had to switch to AV2 manually. Then I tried it on our LCD TV. With the multi SCART adapter I get a picture but it's almost completely grey, but when I hooked it up without it, I only get a "No Signal" message on the screen. Great... Afterwards I tried to hook it on my PVM via composite and the picture is even worse than the MarkIII's. It's blurry and full of the aforementioned color bleeding. Oh and when I choose 50Hz PAL on my Megaflashrom, it only displays the pic in b/w there. Really some pretty weird shit... The PVM should handle the one as well as the other, well it usually did until now. Though this problem is at least neglectable. Let's hope that at least the MFR SD arrives soon. Right now I'm not happy. Far from it....
Post by Dee Liteyears on Jun 11, 2015 6:48:19 GMT -5
The MFR arrived today. When I power it on it boots to Multimente and freezes.... also looks like I need to widen the second SD slot. I can't fit the SD cart into it ._. I hope someone at the MSR can help me out
Edit: Okay with the SD card I was just stupid. It needs to face the other direction, but the freezing still occurs
Figure since I now have five more games, I might as well give impressions for those as well, as a supplement to my previous post:
- Hinotori/Firebird Holy DAMN this game is good. Like, this is easily one of the best games in my collection, one of the best licensed games I've played (it's based on the manga by Osamu Tezuka), and one of the most unique shmups I've ever experienced. It is, at its core, a vertically-scrolling shmup... but it's nonlinear. Each stage has three endlessly looping vertical "belts" running parallel to one another, and your goal is to weave through the maze created by these three belts to find the boss door... which involves collecting keys and opening other doors along the way. And even then, you're not done, as there are special tokens for each stage that you have to have in your inventory in order for the final boss to spawn, and these special tokens can only be accessed by going through gates that require keys from later stages. So at certain points in the game, you actually have to backtrack to previous stages and go through alternate routes to get these tokens. It's like a strange hybrid of shmup and exploration-based adventure, and it's all balanced very well and is genuinely fun to play. Also one of the few MSX games to feature smooth scrolling, along with some of the best graphics and music I've yet seen on the system. A winner all around, and definitely comes highly recommended. It's absolutely up there with Vampire Killer and Xanadu in my upper echelon.
- Knightmare II: The Maze of Galious The game I bought the MSX for in the first place! Initially comes across as the MSX's answer to Metroid, but in a way, Zelda comparisons are somehow even more apt due to the way the game is split into a hub castle (the overworld) and numerous stages (the dungeons). If Zelda were played in side-view with jumping, it would be Maze of Galious. Seems very deep and involving, and went on to inspire two of my favorite indie games of all time (La-Mulana and Unepic), so I'm really stoked to play through this one soon.
- Ashguine II: The Sky Citadel ...Kinda sucks! Which is sad, as it looked pretty cool from videos -- it features the largest and most detailed sprites I've seen on the MSX to date, smooth scrolling the whole way around, and some pretty good music to boot (some of which was used in the original 2005 freeware version of La-Mulana). The problem is, the gameplay is just... not fun. You're always facing UP, no matter what, so if enemies are attacking you from the sides or from behind, you're pretty much screwed. Worse still, if you enter a room, you need to clear out EVERY enemy in that room before you can leave it -- you can't unlock doors, use stairs, use teleporters or anything else until there's not a single baddie left, which is really aggravating. Everything about this game just feels wonky, and while its stage designs are somewhat interesting, it's just too easy to die and too frustrating to play. Probably my least favorite MSX game so far.
- Tengoku Yoitoko/Welcome to Heaven The exact opposite of Ashguine II, this is a game that looks rather amateurish, sounds kind of meh, and has glitches out the wazoo. By all rights, I could easily dismiss this as a kusoge, and make a really good case for that... but in all honesty, I'm actually really enjoying this one! I'd say "enjoyed," since this is now the fourth MSX game I've managed to complete... but even after beating it, I actually went back to it and beat it again, trying to strategize better in order to experiment with some of its gameplay systems a bit more, and I'm sure I'll play through it again in the future. It's short, and it's simple, but it's a fun platformer with some light Metroidvania elements, some weirdly dark themes, and some fairly interesting gameplay systems that all come together to make it a weirdly addictive experience. The central combat mechanic is jumping on enemies like Mario... but unlike Mario, you actually have to KEEP jumping on your enemies, as your goal is to literally pound them into the ground until they're completely buried. Each time you jump on them, they sink a little deeper, but if you leave them be for a moment, they'll pull themselves back up -- so you have to jump on them repeatedly, again and again, until they're good and buried. Which is... strangely not repetitive, but actually really satisfying! I would definitely recommend this game to someone looking for a fun, easy platformer to while away a couple hours one day, and am very glad I played it.
- Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch As suspected, it plays exactly like an Ultima game, except with even MORE stats and menus (but also full-screen character art, which is a nice touch!). Looks decent enough, sounds quite good, and has a TON of depth... but it's also slooooooooooooooooow. Much slower than the Ultima titles. Possibly TOO slow for me to ever truly get into it, as this is a game that requires an insane amount of patience, planning and strategy. If I were a kid with nothing but time on my hands, I'd probably be able to get into it... but as an adult with very little time for gaming, this is just not something I can see myself playing through anytime soon. Still glad to own it, though, if only for the awesome book of spells and the parchment map -- was a worthwhile purchase simply for collector's value!
...I've also got Usas on the way, which I scored for a VERY good price on eBay (shockingly!). I anticipate falling in love with that game and quickly ranking it among my favorites (Konami really was on a roll with this system, as even King Kong 2 is worthwhile despite its flaws!), but we shall see what happens once it arrives.