I recently had a bit of luck by managing to find a copy of Razion for the Neo Geo MVS at a sensible price. The original manufacturers were doing a reprint of the game (hardly ever happens) so a copy of an already used “LE” version was up for grabs for a sensible, and comparible, price. So I got it… and now I ant to know what’s inside it….
First run NG:DEV.Team games are a little different to regular MVS carts. Essentially it’s the same game as the reprint but it comes in a wooden MVS shell. There’s some included ‘fluff’ I dont really care about also included in the box (like posters, art work etc.)
Of course, as this is a non standard SNK CART, I figure the insdes are going to be different to the usual SNK MVS boards (should be given it’s boasting 1560 MEGS). So lets take it apart… Here’s the CART (LE version).
The spine is nice. The wood shell isn’t two halves that seperate where the label is like ususal MVS games. Instead, the underside of the shell unscrews leaving the label in pristiene condition. Good thinking NG:Dev.Team!
Here’s the top of the cart with vent holes and the hologram serial number.
This is the underside of the CART. With the 4 screws holding the wooden plate to the rest of the CART. They are simple phillips head screws so lets get them out and see what’s underneeth.
Opening up the case and we are greeted with… A very dull picture. This doesn’t look that interesting, some 2/3 height PCBs with the interesting stuff facing away from us and, what looks like, some form of connector at the top. Lets turn them around and see what’s there…
once we’ve extracted the PCBs (snugly fitted in to the case, no wobble!) We see the large chip on the far left being a 512Mbit ROM surrounded by edge trigger chips (don’t know what they do). The large chip in the center is a NXP microcontroller chip. These contain USB and memory controller so I’m guessing this is used as the communications bus between the chips onthe right and the ROM boards, RAM and USB header. Below to the right of that is a Xilinix CPLD (Complex Programable Logic Device) and further over on the top right we have a Spartan FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) with more flash rom below. FPGAs need configuring at startup so I would guess this ROM contains the configuration for the Spartan chip.
Pure speculation here but I would also guess the Spartan chip constitutes the “MCU” you sometimes get a reference to in the game if there’s a error and it needs a reboot. An FPGA is essentially custom and per task definable so whatever this does, NG:Dev.Team programmed it to do it… I’ll never know.
The next board back is pretty self explanitory in its function but also rather interesting. It’s theROM board holding all the game asset data. The top left 2 chips are both 16Mbit NOR ROM chips (I assume for program and sound data?). The right 2 chips are 512Mbit ROMs which are probabaly the graphics roms. the row of chips below are a bit of a mystery to me. Tne Ti branded ones are “Octal edge trigger flip flops” whatever the heck they are…. a wild guess…. paging the ROMs so the MVs can read it? dunno. If you do, PLEASE comment!
The game itself is blooming brilliant. A very tough, but fair shooter with an excellent soundtrack, great scoring system that rewards risk and a good variety in the levels (although it accelerates from good to great from level 3 onwards). Linked below are a couple of videos of it running on actual hardware (Sega Blast City, CRT and MVS).
Until the next pickup….