Handheld Underground

hhugboy v1.2 release!

posted by taizou @ 2017-08-13 23:39:14 hhugboy

Another emulator update without the associated ROMs to work on it WHAT COULD THIS POSSIBLY MEAN 🤔

Anyway this time you got

Get it right here

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new dump: Super Donkey Kong 3!

posted by taizou @ 2017-07-31 00:51:47 Dumps

So quite a while back I posted a video of a game entitled Super Donkey Kong 5 by Makon. This was basically an attempt at porting 4 stages from Donkey Kong Country 3, with the typical bad colour palette found in most early Makon GBC games.

But it wasn't the original! Before that there was a mono version with a different stage order, simply titled "Super Donkey Kong 3" (the same name as the Japanese version of DKC3) and released on a single cart even more simply titled "Donkey Kong 3". Needless to say, this release was often overlooked (including by me) as being nothing more than a pirate copy of Donkey Kong Land 3, and has remained fairly elusive.

But! JP Ronny recently picked up a multicart containing this game, was cool enough to lend it to me, and I was able to extract it! So here we go:

It seems to have been built on Sonic 3D Blast 5 (even sharing its header name) and will run in any emulator that supports that game.

Download: Super Donkey Kong 3 (Unl) (Multicart Rip).zip

🙉

Update 2017-08-02: Emulator fixed version!

So the reason the raw dump doesn't work in many emulators is that Makon used a PRETTY clever variant on a common protection trick.

As a little background, the Game Boy ROM header contains some metadata, such as ROM size and cartridge type, which is never actually read by the console. A cartridge with incorrect values in these positions will run just fine on a Game Boy. However, emulators and copiers usually rely on the header to figure out how to handle a given ROM - meaning they will fail if these values are incorrect.

It was relatively common for unlicensed companies to set deliberately incorrect values in the header, providing a simple deterrent to casual piracy. But if you're able to dump such a cartridge, it's usually sufficient to fix the header values to allow it to work normally in emulators (as long as it has no other copy protection).

This game and Sonic 5 both have incorrect header values, and emulators that support them just override these values, so I assumed doing the same in the ROM would be a quick fix. And yet.. if I did that, it wouldn't boot. Which left me mystified for a good while. Maybe there was some code checking the header hadn't been tampered with?

But no - even sneakier than that - what Makon did here was actually place frequently-used EXECUTABLE CODE in the header position, meaning any attempt to fix the header would break the game entirely.

So in the end what I had to do was move that code elsewhere and replace all the references to it, allowing me to then update the header untrammelled, and giving you (finally) a .. somewhat more emulator-compatible bad Donkey Kong game. Enjoy!

Download: Super Donkey Kong 3 (Unl) (Multicart Rip) [Emu Fix].zip

Also: the multicart!

The cartridge this game was found on is titled "Matchless 23 in 1 (A)", and presumably was released sometime in 1998 shortly before the Game Boy Color (since it contains '98 release James Bond 007, but lacks any 'color' reference, which post-GBC multicarts nearly always have). It has 18 unique games, with the remaining 5 being repeats under different titles.

I was able to dump this too, but the mapper is unemulated, so it doesn't work beyond the menu (except Snoopy!)

Download: Matchless 23 in 1 A (Unl).zip

One interesting thing I was able to pull out of the multicart ROM, though, is a list of 208 titles for repeats, 128 of them unique; presumably this means variants of this cart with more-inflated game counts may have been produced, featuring such classics as BIG WOLF and OLD KARATEKA.

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2420 ROM Pack V - Camera repair cart

posted by taizou @ 2017-02-04 14:28:46 Dumps

Got something a little bit unusual this time:

Looks like a prototype cart, and hardware-wise it pretty much is, but its purpose is something else entirely!

There isn't much info on these things at all, but from what I can ascertain it's from a series of carts distributed to camera repair shops for camera diagnostics/adjustments/repair. Presumably at some point the camera manufacturer wanted to create a portable diagnostic tool and decided to base it around cheap commodity hardware - the Game Boy - rather than spending time and money on developing their own machine or using something more expensive and unnecessarily sophisticated for the job.

I only have this one cart, but Steven Seventyeight on Youtube has a bunch more, plus a modified 4-player adapter which was presumably used for connection to the cameras. I have neither the corresponding camera nor the adapter, so mine is not much more than a curiosity at this point.

The original assumption is that these were likely for Ricoh cameras given Nintendo's history of working with them (e.g. for the chips used in the NES), but codeman38 identified some of the cart numbers as actually corresponding to internal model numbers for Minolta cameras. This document lists a bunch of them; the cameras seem to date from the mid-90s so presumably these carts would have been made around the same time.

As mentioned, the case and PCB seem to be the same ones used for Game Boy prototypes; the PCB is Nintendo-made, labelled DMGC-MBC1-512K-EPROM1-01 and it has a 512kbit (64kbyte) EPROM installed stickered "2420V" (although the ROM is only 32kb and doesn't actually require the MBC at all). However it has a black plastic cover over the EPROM which I haven't seen on any existing prototypes, so it may have been custom-made for these carts to prevent damage to the chips.

Here's the menu:

Without a camera connected you can't do much - most actions will lead you to this "I/O Error" screen.

There isn't much in the ROM pointing to who programmed it, although there is an unused(?) 8x8 font that also appears in some early Taito games. However it feels more like it was programmed in-house by Minolta rather than outsourced to an experienced Game Boy developer; the UI is very 90s-camera-menu-like and its unusual use of the Game Boy's controls (Select to select menu options; A, B and Start are unused), plus it redrawing the whole screen on every button press, gives the impression of a programmer not used to working with the system. So the font may have been a leftover from them studying existing Game Boy software to figure out how it works.

Download: 2420 ROM Pack V.zip

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let's get hitek

posted by taizou @ 2017-01-08 21:09:53 Dumps

Yet another unlicensed GB protection system has fallen hell yeah~
As you may have guessed based on my last hhugboy release, this time it's Hitek's turn!

Hitek (or Gaoke) was a Chinese company that released several Game Boy games developed by Ruanxin, a team containing several ex-Waixing staff, some of whom would later go on to work for Jungletac. (Ruanxin isn't explicitly credited in-game, but you can find a bunch of little references here and there, like the boot logo of these carts being "GK-RX" for "Gaoke-Ruanxin")

Their protection is almost identical to BBD's, but they make much better use of it (they switch modes while the game is running, while BBD just sets one at the beginning and that's it; also the cart initialises in a mode that prevents the entire ROM from being read, similar to VF's GBA games), so it's not so easy to hack out. Hence why only Li Cheng ever did it, I guess. So, for now, these games will only run in hhugboy v1.1.8 and up.

Terrifying 911

This first one comes thanks to Ryan Silberman who lent me the cart!

This is probably the most infamous unlicensed Game Boy game in existence - incredibly bad taste presentation hiding an EXTREMELY faithful port (..except the music) of the original Metal Slug. It's a world away from those Sintax/BBD "Metal Slug"s which are basically generic shooty-platformers with sprites from the NGPC Metal Slug games; this is an actual port from the actual Neo Geo.

I previously dumped the Li Cheng release, which was a hack of the Chinese version; this is the original English version complete with fully translated pre-stage shit-talk between George W Bush and Osama bin Laden.

download: Terrifying 911 (Unl).zip

Shuihu Zhuan Zhi Qunmo Fengyun Lu (水滸傳之群魔風雲錄)

A port of Chuanpu's Mega Drive strategy RPG "Shui Hu Zhuan". Again, this was only previously dumped from a Li Cheng cart, in which NPC boundary checking was completely broken (resulting in them wandering through walls or into buildings). Now you can enjoy the original non-glitchy version!

download: Shuihu Zhuan Zhi Qunmo Fengyun Lu (Unl).zip

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hhugboy v1.1.8

posted by taizou @ 2017-01-07 23:21:58 hhugboy

hey it's another emulator update!

This one adds support for Hitek protected carts - turns out their protection system is very close to BBD's, but used much more effectively. (And no I haven't released any Hitek roms yet, but watch this space yeah)

Also I added some quieter volume options because I always find emulators run much louder than pretty much everything else & it was probably annoying my neighbours

that's it! get it here

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