Salamander 2 is the sequel to Salamander and a spinoff of the long-running Gradius series. It’s the first game in the Gradius series to incorporate 3D graphic elements into its base of 2D graphics. It runs on Konami GX hardware.
I brought one of my G-net mobo’s to Monouchi’s Taito Station last weekend for firing up some shmups on one of his Egret II’s.
For having only 20+ titles available in total the G-net actually boasts quite a few shmup games. I’m still missing Ray Crisis but we played through the ones I have. I must say I enjoyed Psyvariar ~Revision~ the most. Interesting scoring mechanism and a great soundtrack! XII Stag is an odd gem with its horizontal firing system. Shikigami no Shiro delivers as usual.
Finally having gotten Space Invaders Anniversary I ran through a few of the versions in the game and it’s quite remarkable to back 30 some years to the birth of the shmup genre.
Shikigami no Shiro
Mono playing Mushihimesama Futari Black Label
Loading Psyvariar ~Revision~
Psyvariar Medium Unit
Of course we had to play some Cave titles as well for restoring the order 😉
Conversions are kind of a grey zone within the arcade world. They’re neither bootlegs nor originals and trading them is banned on many arcade forums. Instead of creating a copy from scratch you take an existing game and reprogram (usually by changing the chips) into another. While it is not considered ok by some this was done by the game manufacturers too.
Progear no Arashi and Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition are probably the most common conversions on Capcom’s CPS2 platform. Both are ridiculously expensive as originals and fairly easy to make conversions of.
After baking a few Naomi and MVS BIOS chips I wanted to try my luck with a Progear conversion. I picked a cheap Japanese Vampire Hunter as donor and got started.
The first thing I realized was that Vampire Hunter uses a PAL F type board which meant I would have to do the ugly patch, ending up with a cable across the board. If you can get hold of a PAL G board you won’t have to do this.
For the Progear conversion you will need:
ROM files (easily found all over the net)
1 x 27C010 EPROM
2 x 27C4096 EPROMs
6 x M27C322 EPROMs
A programmer capable of programming the above IC’s
An EPROM eraser (if reusing IC’s)
About 30 cm wire (if donor board is a PAL F type)
A T-20 security torx (for opening the case)
The 27C010 and the 27C4096’s you can reuse if you have an EPROM eraser (if you don’t – get one). Though in my case the VH had 27C1001’s and I couldn’t any get them to work so I had to get a new 27C010. The M27C322’s are easily found on both eBay and AliExpress.
Use a decent UV eraser for wiping the EPROM’s. Don’t build your own! You can find one cheap from eBay and messing around with UV light can make you go blind. I usually leave the EPROM’s for about an hour in the eraser for making sure that they’re blank.
Since CPS II boards are suicidal it’s also a good idea to remove the battery while converting and create a phoenixed board. For this you need phoenix version of the ROM files.
Desolder the battery from the board and short circuit the CC1 capacitor for draining the board completely from any residual charge and the remove all IC’s from the sockets.
Now’s a good time to clean the board if it’s dirty. Wash it under lukewarm water using a mild detergent and a soft toothbrush. Rinse well and leave the board to dry for a couple of days. In case you have a hot air oven that can be set to a temperature of 35-40°C (85-105°F) you can speed up the drying process.
Next you need to set the jumpers correctly. There is a total of 28 jumpers on the board. Jumpers 1-6 above IC socket 1, 7-12 between sockets 2 and 12, 13-20 below socket 16 and 21-28 below socket 20. Depending on your donor board you might have to cut, solder and/or desolder the jumpers.
The jumper settings (from 1-28) are:
COOC CO OCOCOC COCOCOCO COCOCOCO (C = connected, O = open)
If you, like me, have a PAL F type board you’ll have to apply a patch cable from the BGS-B3F IC to pin C13 of the C1 connector across the board. Remove the BGS-B3C IC from the board and bend leg no 7 outwards so it no longer connects to the socket. Solder one end of the wire to the leg. Reinsert the IC and solder the other end of the cable to pin C13.
For programming the EPROM’s you’ll need a programmer with a 42 pin ZIF socket capable of handling the three chip types. I use a TOP-3000 universal programmer which can be found on eBay and other stores for about $150.
Once you’ve programmed the EPROM’s make sure to cover the windows on the chips. There are special metallic labels for this but normal electrical tape works just fine.
Insert the EPROM’s and take your game for a spin!
Case labels and manual can be found over at the ArcadeOtaku wiki. And for giving your board the last final touch print some nice looking EPROM labels.
Espgaluda, Ketsui and DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou Black Label as cartridges? Why not, as long as they’re 100% true to their originals.
Yes, you can always claim that “They’re not original!” but if they behave as well as their bare PCB counterparts I for one do like the concept of a cartridge version of my favorite CAVE shmups; better protection and easier storage being two of the pros.
On the flip side unfortunately another game has to be sacrificed as always when making a conversion. In many cases this was the the way for instance when older CPS-II games were to be retired and replaced by newer titles. The older games were returned and the hardware reused in order to lower production costs. Conversions remain a grey area among gaming enthusiasts. Some consider them legit and some write them off as bootlegs. For me it all depends on the game in question and the source of the game. Certain CPS-II games, like Progear, I consider ok since Capcom did them themselves, but the PGM conversions, IMO, are bootlegs. Even if the hardware used is similar to the original these games were never officially released on the PGM platform nor has CAVE ever licenced them for the PGM.
That aside, these conversions are top of the line. They perform (in some cases even outperform) as their original counterparts. Nonetheless it’s a grey zone – they are bootlegs.
Cartridge instead of bare PCB
No battery on the PCB
Brighter sound than the originals
Cartridges can be stored in shock boxes
A PGM game needs to act as donor
Arrange ROM’s for Ketsui and DDP DOJ cannot be played
DDP DOJ Black Label doesn’t have the Vanilla version
The following games can act as donors for the conversions.
DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou Black Label
Night of Valour Super Heroes
Ketsui and Espgaluda
Knight of Valour 2
Dodonpachi 2 Bee Storm
As you can see from the pictures below the conversions are kind of messy and not easy to do.
AmazonJP is now taking pre orders for CAVE’s Shooting Collection.
Still not much info revealed about the contents and release date is still not yet announced. From what I know this far it will contain the games below for the Xbox360 on 7 discs plus downloadable content and two booklets. Pre order price is set at ¥ 24,800 (ordinary price is ¥29,176).
Preliminary game listing:
Deathsmiles / Deathsmiles II
Do-Don-Pachi Dai-Fukkatsu / Do-Don-Pachi Dai-Fukkatsu Black Label