21 April 2017

Reviews: Aibo Seniton X Video Game [Famicom Clone]

UPD (26.04.2017) Added a few video tests, that I forgot to add earlier!

Hello everyone!
Today I decided to bring you a new review on my Blogspot site. It's a review on one of the pretty interesting Famiclones that I have in my collection. It's called Aibo Seniton X Video Game.

Here it is:

Right from the beginning, we can see that it actually looks like a Famicom clone, produced by HiTex


Let's take a look at this console more deeply. :)
Center text and top left symbols above cartridge slot - Aibo
The text at the bottom of cartridge slot - Seniton X Video Game


This is how the console looks like from the front side. The side parts of console have the slots of Famiclone controllers, just like what was on original Famicom.
Then we have the cartridge slot, with automatically opening doors. You just insert the cartridge and it goes in. On Famicom, you had to open the cartridge slot door manually. It's a minor thing, but I think that it's worth mentioning.
It's designed for Famicom cartridges, 60 pin ones. In order to play NES cartridges, 72-pin, you need to use a converter.

Next... we have the power button, eject button labeled as Push, Reset button. Pretty standard stuff.
But also above Power button, there's an LED light, which lets you know when the console is powered on.

Everything is clear with the top part. Let's look at the bottom part.
It has 4 places for screws, instead of 6, like on original console. Nothing too interesting here, except for this little sticker, which I still haven't figured out the translation of (the text that's in Chinese, at least). I'll show it to you more closely:
Who knows the Chinese and is willing to translate this sticker to me, write me in the comments below!
Next, let's look at the sides of the console:
We have 15-pin controller ports on each side, just like what was on one of the more popular Famiclones, Micro Genius IQ series, or Lifa SM-888/Haili LM-888, etc..
You can connect Famicom accessories, but it's likely that they won't work, due to the controller settings here. But, you can connect pretty much any 15-pin Famiclone controller to it, and it will work. I tested the light gun I have for it (came with Subor Famiclone), connected to second port, and it worked just fine.

Let's look at the back side:
I think that it'll be no surprise to you, if I told you that this Famiclone has AV outs, and not just RF. Both work, but not too perfectly... probably due to soldering problems. I dunno...
The power adapter is standard 9V DC. Sega Genesis Model 1 adapter works kinda well with it. I usually use the universal power adapter adapter with 9V DC settings, and everything works perfectly fine here.
But anyway... let's look at what's inside the console :D
This looks like a hardware clone, and not NOaC clone. Just look at all those chips on the main board, full of chips and capacitors. We'll look at the main board more closely now. :)
Cloned CPU and PPU chips, capacitors. This looks sick
Looking at it from other angle

Zoomed in view
And here's the view on the board with AV out, power jack, etc.. stuff
Looking at this from the other side:
Zoom in

The close view to 7805

And here's the clone with original Famicom (note: my Famicom is with AV mod, but this is the only mod that was done with the console).
The Famiclone is slightly bigger than the original console.
Sticking two consoles together, Famicom on top.
The Famiclone is a bit bigger by the height too. And yeah, as I said earlier, my Famicom has AV mod, but that's the ONLY modification done to it (and the sticker is missing, that tells you what is what).
Different angle

The controller slots are perfectly designed to fit the controllers, that are designed similar to Famicom ones. Unfortunately, as you can see from my photos, the main unit is the only thing I purchased. There haven't been any controllers with it originally, when I bought it.

But I guess that the original Famiclone controllers were shaped like official deal, but with turbo buttons added.
And this is the view on controllers, inserted into these slots. They sit quite nicely.
Another thing I am guessing is that the wires on original Famiclone controllers could come out from the sides, just like original Famicom ones.
This question remains unanswered, but I hope that sooner or later, we'll find out the answer to that. :)

Now, we get to the interesting part: how about testing this Famiclone, and checking the games to see how good the compatibility is?
We'll look at some screenshots here, as well as video tests that I made earlier.

Here there are the photos of cartridges I made here. Through RF and AV. :)
AV outs. Supervision 64-in-1

Supervision 64-in-1 cartridge, zoomed in

RF out

AV out once again
Even via photos we can see that there are some vertical lines on the screen. The picture quality isn't perfect, but not too terrible. AV out is a bit weak, but works.
We'll check a few other games here:
Super Mario Bros.

AV out
The picture looks a bit dark, so, via capture device, I decided to make the contrast and brightless higher, so it would look a bit better.
RF out
RF signal isn't too great, as you can see here. In case you are wondering, there is nothing wrong with my cables of mine.
Duck Tales 2. AV out.

Duck Tales 2. RF out.

Duck Tales 2. Zoomed out picture, with the cartridge of mine.

6-in-1 NS14 cart.

Pac-Mania. AV out.

Pac-Mania. RF out.

23-in-1 cartridge. RF out. Zoomed out.

23-in-1 cartridge. AV out. Zoomed out.

Adventure Island from 23-in-1. AV out. Zoomed in.

Adventure Island from 23-in-1. RF out. Zoomed in

Mario 3. RF out. Zoomed out.

Mario 3. AV out. Zoomed out. (You can even see that it's AV channel, lol)

Mario 3. RF out. Zoomed in.

Mario 3. AV out. Zoomed in.
Also, we'll check how well the official cartridges work on this Famiclone.
Super Mario USA (Super Mario Bros. 2). AV out. Zoomed in.

Super Mario USA (Super Mario Bros. 2). RF out. Zoomed in.

Super Mario USA (Super Mario Bros. 2). RF out. Zoomed out. Official cartridge.

Super Mario USA (Super Mario Bros. 2). AV out. Zoomed out. Official cartridge.
So, we've seen the pictures of this console running. But, how about the videos of certain games, running on this machine? Let's find out! :)

Now... what I am not sure about is that... why sometimes the colors look a bit messed up on some games. Probably there's something wrong with soldering stuff.
And as I mentioned above, I had to raise the brightness of the video, when connected via AV cables. Sadly, the picture still isn't perfect, but it's better than nothing.

So, let's take a look at these:

There was a problem with sound as well: it's distorted. And yeah... the game is working in PAL speed, so the games are actually slower than on regular Famicom.
This can be a problem to many people, who got used to playing their favourite games on authentic hardware or NTSC clone. For those, who played Dendy, Pegasus, etc clones played in 50hz speed, this would be alright.

Let's check the next game:

Ok... the game actually looks alright. On many other clones, the picture in Super Aladdin would display with annoying green tilt throughout the whole game. I am not really sure why it happens like that... Maybe some Nintendo-on-a-chip properties don't work well with this game and a few other SuperGame ones.
Since this is a hardware clone, there is no such problem. Well... technically, you still can see the green tilt on the title screen, but it's bearable. On actual stages, there is no any problem.
Sadly, this game isn't too great, since this port has only 4 stages, ending with Rug Ride stage... but oh well...

We'll see the other SuperGame game:

Works alright, no green tilt on the title screen. The game works fine.

(UPD: 26.04.2017): Speaking of games that show off with green tilt... I am not sure if it's a convinience or not... but Bubble Bobble FDS conversion, no matter which one I try from two of those that I have, both are played with annoying green tilt on NOaC Famiclones, like UMC chip ones... and on Subor Famiclones, such as D25, SB225, KL235.
Here's an example of what I mean:


It doesn't look too nice, doesn't it? I am not sure if it's just FDS conversion, or the regular Bubble Bobble, US version, is displayed like that as well... I will check it soon.
Here's how this game works on Aibo Seniton X Famiclone:

You can still see a bit on green tilt, but it's not quite as annoying as what we've seen on video above!
We'll check the great classic, Battle City, running on this machine, because... why not? :)

And it works fine, no problem :)
We'll go over to the next game, the first Rockman game.

The only problem here is the distorted sound, the video quality is kinda bearable. We'll also check another game.
The following game actually is displaying much darker on certain Famiclones, than on original hardware, oddly enough.

I can't really judge much about the picture quality here, since the video out on the console isn't displaying too well. But, comparing to other games, I guess, the display looks alright.
Oddly enough, Eurocom games and also certain ones, like Cliffhanger, Felix the Cat are too dark on certain NOaC Famiclones, such as UMC ones (usually found on Dendy Steepler Famiclones)



Two games in Chip'n Dale Rescue Rangers work pretty much alright.

I've basically tested the singlecarts earlier, but now... let's check one of my multicarts, 110-in-1 Supervision, and also, a few games from it, such as Mario Bros:

Mario Bros., also known as Pipeline or Mr.Mary.
"I have several questions" (C)

Ohh... And let's also check Lode Runner from the cart:

Everything worked well, besides the distorted audio and a bit dark video quality.

We'll check more singlecarts:

Nothing too bad here.
We'll also check Felix the Cat game here.

Worked alright.
Next up is Duck Tales, from 11-in-1 A-042 (I didn't have Duck Tales pirate singlecart back then)

Worked alright. The only difference with Duck Tales 1 here between bootleg and official versions, is the screwed up sprite of Scrooge McDuck, a few changed sprites in order to add III in the title, deleted copyrights. Now we'll check Duck Tales 2 (not the same cartridge, as we've seen from the photo above, it's one of my other copies)

Worked well too. There is no copyrights presented here, but other than that, everything else is fine.
We'll also check Super Mario 14, just for fun, because... why not? :P

We'll also check a great classic, called Prince of Rosia... err... I mean... Prince of Persia, with a funnily changed name from "Persia" to "Rosia". :)

Last thing we'll check from regular games is... Ninja Hattori Kun. The connection is done via RF here.

The picture looks a bit more bright, but there is some noise in the video, which you can easily see on the grass and on the sky.
Since, we've already checked regular games, let's check some games with expansion sound chip, like VRC6 and Sunsoft 5B.
First game is Castlevania III Japanese version.

And here's Gimmick, one of the most expensive games ever, that you can find on retro market (my cartridge is a reproduction one, but it plays just like a real deal and it has the expansion sound installed)

As you can hear, this clone can output the expansion sound chip, which is definitely a huge plus for this clone. The only problem is that, with Gimmick!, the expansion sound from this game is played a bit louder than regular sound channels.
But, we can see that it works noneless.
Also... speaking of some cartridges that didn't work on this clone, or worked with some glitches:

Well, this cartridge doesn't work on original Famicom as well. Since this is a full hardware clone, there is no doubt that 150-in-1 Real Game won't work... sadly.
245-in-1 (23+222-in-1) Real Game multicart from the same series, as you probably know, also doesn't work on Famicom. I guess that it'll be no exception to this console.

This one...
For some odd reason, it works on my AV Famicom just fine. On regular Famicom, some games are shown with annoying vertical lines on certain sprites, and here... apparently it crashes. Wonderful...

Also... this is not a multicart, but it didn't work well for me too!

Doraemon for Famicom, by Waixing, which is a hack of Somari. It worked only on NOaC Famiclones. On my Famicom and AV Famicom, it would display with a really glitchy picture, but with colors!
Here, we can see that, like with 150-in-1 Real Game, for some reason, everything turned into B&W.
Who knows why this happens, let me know. I guess it could be some settings with CPU and PPU chips of the actual unit.
(UPD: 26.04.2017): As for this following cart...

For some odd reason, on some machines, it works incorrectly, on other it works perfectly fine. Too bad that the selection of included games kinda sucks... They'd better put original versions instead, and not those Inventor hacks that have bad graphics and music...

Also... speaking of a few extensive multicarts that worked for me... and some simple multicarts as a bonus:

Worked fine, no problems at all. It also booted fine on original Famicom, so that's awesome. :)
If you don't know what 400-in-1 Real Game is, check my blog. Because this is #1 most viewed post here (and it was like 3 years ago!)

150-in-1 Pocket Games also worked fine. :)
You can check my review on this cartridge later on. There is a post I made on this multicart too!



A few classic multicarts.

So, here you go!
What can I say at the end about this console?

+ Full hardware clone
+ Detachable controllers (15-pin)
+ AV outs
+ No reversed duty cycles sound
+ Working expansion sound
+ Pretty good looking design of a main unit
- Distorted sound (possibly due to some soldering problems)
- A lot of noise in video quliaty, when the picture is displayed via RF
- For some odd reason, the video might glitch a bit via AV (I guess it's fixable)

Thank you for reading this post!
I'll also make a post on TriStar Famiclone as soon as possible, since I already made video tests on that console like 2 years ago. And it needs to have a review on this blog too!
(C) AlexSRMD Productions (2017)

17 April 2017

Pickups 50: Famicom Cartridges 50 (January 2017 Pickups)

Yo people!
There haven't been new posts here for... quite a really long time. So, as usual... without spending too much time, I will show off what I got in January 2017.
There haven't been too many pickups... But there are a few, that worth taking a look at :)

Brush Roller
The game, in almost perfect condition, with Remarks sign on the back. The unlicensed game by Hwang Shinwei, a clone of Make Trax.
The label of the cartridge is just the screenshot of actual gameplay and title screen, so nothing much to say here.
Not a bad game, you go around the level, avoid two enemies that chase you. You have 9 lives at the beginning, so it's not too easy to get a Game Over right on the first level. What can be annoying, is the enemy that leaves footprints, it goes on your road, where you could go, so, you'd have to destroy it, before you can actually complete the level.
My particular cartridge seems to be sold in Russia, Moscow by Kenga company, that, just like Steepler, distributed cartridges/consoles in our country back in 1990s. GoCat sticker on the top of cartridge says it all. I have a few other carts with that exact sticker.

Hryu no Ken III (Fly Dragon Boxing 3)
I picked up this cart, just because it looked kinda similar design sense to Double Dragon II on bootleg carts.
Turns out that this is actually a game in Hryu no Ken series, the third part.
I haven't figured out much what to do here, but it definitely looks interesting. Gonna figure out later what this game is all about. :)

The picture on the front label is taken from original cart. The title seems to be written in Chinese, and at the bottom, there is English title, which I am assuming is actually wrong. But I will check that soon.

Ultraman Club: Kaijuu Dai Kessen!
One of the games from Ultraman Club series. The label is taken from original cart, but has the copyright info taken down at the bottom left.
The copyrights in-game aren't removed. Not a bad bootleg copy of Ultimate Club game.

In January, these were all of my pickups. Yeah... just three carts, but no worries...
In February, I got more of the goodies. So, for now, I end this post, and we will see you in the next post, possibly about February pickups. Stay tuned!
(C) AlexSRMD Productions (2017)