Handheld Underground

GBX tool beta release

posted by taizou @ 2020-09-07 01:50:33 Other Stuff

I said a long-ass time ago that I would make a tool for managing the file footers on GBX ROMs and I absolutely never did

Anyway the other day I decided to learn Python and do it, so here it is!

The latest (and only) release as of this writing is v1.0.0-beta.

It can add, edit and remove headers, and also hash ROMs. It's still in a beta state, so I wouldn't call it robust exactly, but I've tested the various operations against some test ROMs and got the expected results. You should definitely verify its output in a hex editor if you're using it for a ROM you plan to release though.

You'll need to install the Python 3 interpreter for your platform to use it. Then, just download the source code zip from the beta release and run gbxtool.py as per the instructions.

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Eat your leafy greens

posted by taizou @ 2020-08-03 01:43:50 Dumps

Got another YJencrypted GBA cart here, and it's not a Sintax game!! Yeah!!

Pokémon: Pokemon: Pokémon: Leaf Green!? You guessed it (maybe (or maybe you saw the screenshots I tweeted)) - it's another bootleg translation!

This is a weird one for sure! They seem to have taken things like names, and parts of the system text, from the official games - meaning a lot of things are more correct (albeit abbreviated) than you'd find in other bootleg translations, except for the cases where they inevitably pasted the wrong name in the wrong place. The dialogue was mostly translated from scratch, and the writing would have been okay, by the standards of these things, if not for one very strange flaw: half of the text in the game just... cuts off, mid-sentence, and sometimes even mid-word. It's as if they completed the translated script, realised too late that they didn't have enough space to insert it into the ROM, and then just indiscriminately trimmed the strings down to cram them in. It makes for some interesting dialogue.

The original cart seems to use a 128KB SRAM chip, which nothing emulates; it's similar to Pokemon Sapphire's problem, except doubly so, since it seems to use some custom banking and there aren't any emulators that "accidentally" emulate it, unlike Sapphire's 64KB SRAM. So that means you will not be able to save your game normally under emulation in any current emulators, and will have to use savestates instead. Sorry about that.

Pokemon - Leaf Green (Unl) (Eng) [YJ restored].zip

13 Comments

Sintax comes home

posted by taizou @ 2020-07-06 02:41:21 Dumps

So far, all the Sintax GBA dumps I've posted here have come from English or Russian-language releases. Sintax being a Chinese company, though, they also released Chinese-language versions of their games for the local market. But, unlike GBC (where probably the majority of my collection is Chinese in origin), I've never really tried to source interesting-looking GBA carts from China, and hence I've never had any of those versions to dump.

But, fortunately, some dumpers from China have picked up the slack, so today I can bring you Chinese versions of a couple of games I previously dumped in other languages.

These ROMs were kindly provided to me by a123_ddd for distribution here.

Leiman IV - Guangming Zhi Lü (雷曼IV 光明之旅)

This is the Chinese version of Rayman IV, of which I've previously posted the Russian and English versions here. It seems to be the same as the other versions, aside from the title screen.

Amazingly, this is not the last remaining language version - there was also a German release. Rayman is truly gaming's Mr. Worldwide.

Dumped by 侵蚀你的私处

Download: Leiman IV - Guangming Zhi Lv (Unl) (Chi) [YJ restored].zip

Chaoji Maliou DX (超级玛莉欧DX)

And this is the Chinese version of Super Mario DX. This one at least has unique translated level names, so there's a bit more of a difference between the language versions.

Dumped by yy小龙虾

Download: Chaoji Maliou DX (Unl) (Chi) [YJ restored].zip

16 Comments

Rudy Can't Fail

posted by taizou @ 2020-06-01 09:54:52 Dumps

The Sintax games just keep coming! Three of them this time, because that's just the way the chips have fallen. On the ground, with seagulls pecking at them.

X-man - Armour of Might / X-men (X-мен)

First of all, one based on X-men, or maybe just the one X-man. Another reskin of the same game as usual, of course. This is another Russian version, and similar to my previous Russian dump, Rayman 4, the only thing translated is the title screen; the label and box are both still in English. Unlike Rayman, they didn't concoct a separate E12-Rxx ID for the Russian version - it just uses an English ID.

I've also taken a picture of the back of the cartridge here, because it reveals a bit of interesting historical context around the release of this thing.. which is maybe more interesting than the game itself at this point.

The seal covering the screw is marked "AM", which is a SUPER common type of sticker seen on pirate Game Boy Color carts all around the world; I assume this must indicate some large Chinese distributor or wholesaler of such carts. It also bears (🐻) the year 2005, with months between April and September; this doesn't necessarily mean the game was released in mid-2005 (it could have been in print for multiple years, or have been an older cart that was stickered or re-stickered later), but does mean it couldn't have been released after mid-2005.

The other sticker is from "vikart.com", which was a Russian wholesaler of game consoles, accessories and games. Presumably they imported cartridges from "AM" into Russia at some point. This sticker is dated January of 2006, which would probably have been either the date they stocked it or the date they sold it. Here's a roughly contemporary copy of their website. Unfortunately, by 2006 they weren't maintaining a public list of GBA games they offered; they had one around 2003, but it was removed and not updated, and only the first page archived. Same goes for their Game Boy Color list, but that at least has some interesting multicarts listed upfront.

Download: X-Man - Armour of Might (X-men) (Unl) (Rus) [YJ restored].zip

Ultraman - Confrontation Between Justice And Evil / Ul'traman - Konfrontatsiya mezhdu spravedlivost'yu i zlom (УЛЬТраман - Конфронтация между справедливостью и злом)

Next up: Ultraman! Even if the title screen depicts some kind of Power Rangers. I've been, I guess, "generous" in transcribing the main title with the proper Cyrillic characters; what Sintax has apparently done here is attempt to approximate Cyrillic letters using a Latin font, resulting in something more like "YJIbTpamaн".

The stickers on the back here.. actually make no sense. The AM one is from January-March 2006, while the Vikart one is from August 2005?!? Why would the Chinese sticker be newer than the Russian one? I notice there are remnants of an older sticker under the AM one... maybe it got returned as faulty, repaired and restickered and sent back out? Or maybe someone in Russia had a supply of "AM" stickers to reseal carts after opening them. Or one of the parties just used a sticker with the wrong date on it. Many possibilities.

Download: Ultraman - Confrontation Between Justice And Evil (Ul'traman - Konfrontatsiya mezhdu spravedlivost'yu i zlom) (Unl) (Rus) [YJ restored].zip

Digimon - Rudy and Sapphire / Digimon - Ruby and Sapphire

As you'll know if you have been following these posts, all of Sintax's GBA games so far have been derived from their original "Digimon Adventure" game, ported from the SNES. And now, after dozens of reskins covering everything from Mario to Shrek, they've come all the way back around to Digimon again. The circle of life. The cartridge calls it "Rudy and Sapphire", while the title screen has "Ruby and Sapphire" - so I've gone with the latter for the ROM name, since the former was obviously just a typo. Probably. Or maybe that's Rudy on the label, in which case I offer my sincerest apologies to him. he seems like a fine gentleman.

Anyway: instead of starring Agumon as Digimon Adventure did, this game features a Guilmon sprite ripped from Digimon Battle Spirit (or maybe Vast Fame's own Digimon Sapphire, which also ripped its sprites from Battle Spirit? Hmm!)

This cart came to me from the Netherlands, but I don't know if it was originally sold there - I never considered the Netherlands as a particular pirate hotspot. But maybe it did make its way there to some flea market or sketchy game shop... or maybe it was just bought on holiday or from eBay.

On the back: only remnants of the seal remain, but it looks like it once said "EMR" and maybe "2005-2006" - so again that lines up with the carts above, indicating 2005-2006 was probably when these later Sintax carts were on the market around the world. Also "Wouter E" has left his mark. I wonder what he thought of this game.

Download: Digimon - Ruby and Sapphire (Unl) (Eng) [YJ restored].zip

16 Comments

Crash 40 - Live and Learn

posted by taizou @ 2020-05-25 01:53:25 Dumps

Got two more Sintax GBA games dumped by RibShark today. These are definitely two of the most-wanted Sintax games, being attached to popular series and also being some of the earliest ones to be documented in video form. And they were both games I don't own. But fortunately Rib came through! Thanks once again for allowing me to repost these here!

Crash Advance IV

Everyone's favourite jorts-wearing bandicoot makes a return visit to Sintax-land. You may remember their GBC game 2003 Crash II Advance, which featured a similar title screen to this game (both being based on the one from the official GBA game "Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure"). Unfortunately, the similarities end there - while Crash II Advance was a decent attempt to recreate Crash Bandicoot's gameplay on GBC, Crash Advance IV is just... well, it's just this again.

A video has been posted purportedly showing another Sintax Crash GBA game called "Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped", but the level shown also appears later in Crash IV, and no cartridge nor title screen has yet been sighted with the Crash 3 title, so nobody is quite sure if that version really exists or if it was a mistitled video of Crash IV.

Download: Crash Advance IV (Unl) (Eng) [YJ restored].zip

Sonic 3 - Fighter Sonic

You all knew this was coming. He's the world's most famous hedgehog. Sintax would never turn their back on that kind of reflected glory. They even pre-empted Sonic 4 in taking the series back to basics; there's no Tails, no Knuckles, no Johnson the Octopus, not even my boy Big the Cat - the only playable character is ol' Blue Bollocks himself. So how about Sonic's trademark speed? Did Sintax buck expectations and stick a rocket up the arse-pipe of their tired old engine? Well... you know they didn't. Sonic just strolls along shooting out spin-dash sprites and it's just like every other one of these games. But there's Sonic!

The title screen just says "Fighter Sonic", but the box and cartridge call it "Sonic 3: Fighter Sonic", which probably means it came out between Sonics Advance 2 and 3 and they were trying to pass it off as the real third game.

Download: Sonic 3 - Fighter Sonic (Unl) (Eng) [YJ restored].zip

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