Archive for the DS Category

The Super Card SD is a flashcart for the Nintendo Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS. (I dont currently own a Nintendo DS, so for this review the Super Card SD was only tested on a Gameboy Advance.)

The difference between the Super Card line of flashcarts and most other carts is instead of having on board memory, the Super Card has a slot where either SD RAM or CF RAM (depending on the model purchased) can be inserted into the cart. Most GBA flashcarts start at 128 megabits of storage (32 megabytes) and cannot be expanded. For approximately the same price you can now get a Super Card and a 512 meg SD RAM cart (16x the amount of storage). However, like the old saying goes, size isnt everything.

The Super Card lets you do some pretty neat things with your Gameboy Advance. The Super Card home page (http://www.supercard.cn) has utilities that will let you read e-books, look at JPG pictures, and even watch videos (after converting them to GBA Media Format) on your GBA. The Super Card also has built in support for several types of emulation ROMs, including NES, GameGear/SMS, PC-Engine, and original Gameboy (but not GBC) games. The real (illegal) reason most people buy these cards is to allow them to play downloaded Gameboy Advance ROMs for free on their GBA.

Transfering GBA games to your Super Card is relatively simple. First, youll need some Gameboy Advance ROMs (Google). Next, youll need a way to read/write to your SD card. Third, youll need to install the Super Card Software, which you can download from the Super Card site. The rest is a piece of cake. The software will convert/patch your ROMs to work with the Super Card. Copying each game over only takes a matter of seconds. Turning on your GBA reveals a simple text menu, at which the games can be selected. After being patched and converted, the card also allows for save states, saving to/from the card, and dropping back to the menu without cycling the units power. Games can also be compressed on the SD card (trading free space for uncompressing load times), but with so many 4 meg games on a 256 meg, 512 meg or 1 gig card, I cant imagine needed to save space.

So whats not to like? Compatibility issues, for one. Several of the GBA ROMs I tried flat out wouldnt work. Some wouldnt run at all; others ran but with graphical glitches, or locked up during gameplay. The good news is the card is easily flashed with firmware upgrades which are continually improving compatibility, but that doesnt help you if the game you really want to play isnt currently supported.

The original Super Card SD (the one I ordered) is slightly longer than a real GBA cart, causing the cart to stick out the front of the cartridge slot a bit. The new Super Card Mini is the same size as a real GBA cart.

As the owner of an EZF Advance as well, Im torn between the two products. While the EZF offers more compatibility, the gigantic amount of storage possible on the Super Card is phenomenal. The native support for NES and SMS ROMs is nice as well. Its a good product; to be great, Super Card needs to improve its compatibility list.

Impossible Mission
Nintendo DS (2007)

“Another visitor! Stay awhile … staaaaaay … hey, wait a minute! Weren’t you the guy who was here 20 years ago?”

Chances are, if you were a Commodore 64 owner, it was you. It has been almost twenty-five years since Epyx released Impossible Mission for the Commodore 64, which was quickly ported to several other home computers and videogame consoles including the Apple II, Atari 7800, Nintendo Entertainment System, and Sega Master System. Followed by two sequels (Impossible Mission II and Impossible Mission: 2025), Impossible Mission is remembered not only for its innovative style of game play, but also its groundbreaking speech synthesis. Twenty-five years later, Impossible Mission (thanks to Warner Bros. and System 3) has found its way to the Nintendo DS.

The Nintendo DS port of Impossible Mission contains three modes of play — Classic, Merged, and New — although they aren’t as different as they first sound. Classic is, for all intents and purposes, a clone of the original — down to the old digitized speech. Of course it wouldn’t be a DS game if players weren’t required to use the system’s touch pad in some fashion, and this game is no exception; minor portions of the game (like accessing the in-game computer monitors to reset lifts and put robots to sleep) have been changed to utilize the handheld’s touch screen. Merged is simply the classic game but with updated graphics, and New is the same as Merged but with a choice of three different characters (just like Impossible Mission: 2025). While it sounds like buyers are getting three games, technically they’re getting one game with three skins.

For those unfamiliar with Impossible Mission, players must search for puzzle pieces in Elvin Atombender’s lair while avoiding killer robots, a giant electrified ball, and bottomless pits. If you manage to collect all the puzzle pieces before time runs out, they can be assembled to reveal a secret pin number which can be used to defeat Elvin. Part of Impossible Mission’s appeal is that the placement of searchable items, puzzle pieces, and even room location is randomized each time you play, so no two gaming sessions are identical. One thing that has made Impossible Mission so popular throughout the years is its combination of action (searching the rooms) combined with strategy/puzzle-solving (fitting the puzzle pieces together).

Impossible Mission stands the test of time. The room layouts are as diabolical as ever, as are Atombender’s homicidal robots. Although the cartridges three versions play virtually identical, the choice between graphic styles will please both new and retro gamers. Although Impossible Mission’s overall design may be simpler than newer platformers, it’s still a challenging game that delivers on all levels. Stay awhile, indeed.