Tuesday, 24 June 2008

SNES - StarFox 2 Cart

With a Super Wildcard Dx2, there is not much point owning many carts...

..apart from the games which used special chips inside the carts. (DSP, FX, SA1 etc..etc..) These games need the original cart to run in almost all cases.

A rather special un-released Snes game was StarFox 2. It never made it out of beta. However, some bod got hold of the beta rom, and some fans took it up on themseleves to translate the game from jap to english, and mod the beta to make it look like a proper game (hiding all the debug stuff).

It's a SuperFX chip game, so can't be played on retail bought flash carts... But what you can do, is hack a SuperFX chip game to contain the StarFox2 rom - and bob's your uncle!


There is a lot of conflicting info out there on the Mario/SuperFX/SuperFX2 chip(s). Essentially, they are all just different revisions of the same chip, and all have exactly the same instruction set (i.e. are completely comptaible with each other).

The Fx2 chip:
1. Can address more that 8Megabit of rom (larger games) - not relevant to StarFox2
2. Reportedly Dual-core. I find this possible, but again a bit unlikely - as you would suspect software would have to coded to specifically take advantage of this.
3. Reportedly twice the speed of the Fx1 at 21.4Mhz. Again, this looks like it's misleading - some places say it's dual core, each at 10.2Mhz (so total is 21.4Mhz). This appears to be incorrect.
4. Fx1 and Fx2 games both appear to have 21.4Mhz external clocks (this is important later), but reportedly halve the signal to use a 10.2Mhz clock.

Reading between the lines (I'm happy to be wrong) I'd say there is not really a fx1 vs fx2 chip, but simply later revisions of the same chip. Mario->GSU1->GSU2 (and sub-revisions). (At least, as far as 8Megabit roms are concerned).

People have successfully hacked Starfox2 onto Fx1 games and Fx2 games, with very little difference (reportedly 0-10% faster on fx2). Unfortunately it runs a bit slow.

Fortunately you can overclock the Fx chips.

You can see where this is heading.


Prototype working:

Prototype with removable IC socket for rom testing. Works great, although it won't last as I'm using the solder as mechanical support (never a good idea!).

Starfox Title Screen running:

Now to overclock the cart....

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