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Review: Ultra Everdrive 64 V3

Better late than never, am I right?! We are more than aware of the fact that there is a newer version than version 3, don’t worry. We discuss that as well as version 3 in this article. If you’re like the rest of everyone else though and are curious as to how well this flash cart works, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a lot to talk about with the Ultra Everdrive64 (Krikzz, Stone Age Gamer) and I wanted to wait to do it all until I had an HDMI out solution and a superior controller. You can read the Super 64 and Tribute64 articles if you’d like. Now let’s get down to business!

Description:

‘Ever dream of having your whole library of Nintendo 64 games in a single cartridge? The Ultra EverDrive64 v3.X allows you to load your game back-ups (commonly known as ROMs) on a microSD card, put the SD card into the Ultra EverDrive64, put the Ultra EverDrive64 into a Nintendo 64 and have your list of games at your finger tips.’

Features:

  • ‘High compatibility. Near to 100% compatibility with the N64 game library.
  • Built-in UltraCIC II lockout chip. Supports both PAL and NTSC systems. Can play protected games, which used CIC-6105.
  • Region free shell. Cartridge fits in any console.
  • 64Mbyte (512mbit) SDRAM for ROM data (max ROM size 64Mbyte).
  • 256Kbyte battery RAM (Save RAM).
  • RTC (real time clock).
  • GamePak saves do not require reset.
  • SD and SDHC cards are supported.
  • FAT16/FAT32 support. Unlimited partition size for FAT32.
  • SD to SDRAM transfer speed up to 23 Mbyte/s.
  • Emulation features.
  • GamePak saves support (SRAM, SRAM128Kbyte, EEPROM16k, EEPROM4k, FlashRam).
  • GameShark cheats.
  • IPS/APS patches.
  • No extra software needed.
  • USB port 800k – 1Mbyte/s. USB port useful for developers.’

Walkthrough Video:

Pros:

  • Free Games. My first point is about the free games that come along with the cart and no, I don’t mean piracy. What I mean is that when you buy the Ultra Everdrive64 from Stone Age Gamer you get a pack of free games. They are legit fun games and they are definitely some hidden gems. You’ll get access to a zip file that contains 5 titles. Those titles are 40 Winks, Glover, Dragon Sword, Wetrix, and Starshot.
  • Simplicity: Once you have your legally obtained ROMs on your PC, it’s incredibly easy to get them onto the flash cart. If you bought the SD card alongside the flash cart, then it should already be ready to go. You’ll simply drag and drop your ROMs wherever you’d like to put them on the SD card. They are able to be read from any location. If you’re using your own SD card, then you should go to the website KRIKzz has set up and get the newest OS file. You’ll simply drag and drop that onto the SD card’s root. After that, then you can add your games. In both of those scenarios, after you are done on the PC, simply slide the SD card into the flash cart and boot up the N64. You’ll have a screen with either folders containing your ROMs or a list of your ROMs, depending on how you set it up!
  • Overall Menu: But the main menu doesn’t stop there, it isn’t just a list of ROMs. Sure, you can navigate through the games easily and hit nothing else. But there’s much more than that. Let’s talk about the navigation first though as I’ve already brought it up. You can press left and right on the D-Pad to skip to the next or last page of games. That makes it easy to skip ahead a longer list of games. You can also simply press up and down on and the D-Pad to go through games individually. If you want to simply run the last game again, just press up on the C-Pad. It will take you straight into that game. It’s all very intuitive and it doesn’t stop there. We’re going to talk more about the following soon, but I just also want to mention that you can do more in the menu. You can go into the menu for the flash cart by pressing the Z button, you can see file options for titles by pressing down on the C-Pad, you can go into a folder by pressing A or back out of a folder by pressing B, and you can for a different save type by pressing the L button.
  • Options: The Ultra Everdrive64 doesn’t just load a ROM from the main menu with a few tweaks. Oh no my friend, this flash cart does more than that. There is an entire Main Menu with various items to sift through. There’s a lot to cover here. In this section, I’m just going to layout the Options section for you. I’m going to break them all down for you the way that the user manual does.
    “Save type: Force a specific save type. In some cases the Ultra Everdrive64 can not detect the proper save type which may cause the game to not operate correctly. Game Mode: Force a specific region game mode. In some cases the Ultra Everdrive64 can not detect the proper region which may cause the game to not operate correctly. SD Speed: Force a specific SD speed. Menu Size: Allows the selection of a menu resolution. May help with RGB modded N64 consoles. Game Shark: Enables and disables Game Shark cheat system. IPS/APS: Enables and disables the IPS/APS patching system. Auto IPS: Enables automatic IPS patching when necessary. Auto APS: Enables automatic APS patching when necessary. CRC Check: Enables CRC security chip checking” So as you can see, a lot of stuff that can be changed around, enabled/disabled, or modified. All of those points could be considered pros to this flash cart. Definitely a lot of features that other N64 flash carts do not have.

  • More Main Menu: As far as the rest of the Main Menu items, I’ll break those down now. There’s a lot of these left, but I’m going to lay them out for you the way that the manual did. “Cpak Manager: Allows you to manage the game saves for your ControllerPak. Auto ControllerPak back-up can also be enabled and disabled here. Cheats: Allows the user to apply Game Shark cheat codes properly, the game must be selected by opening the File Menu and selecting ‘Select Only’. After selecting the game then enter the codes. Make sure the code is enabled, otherwise it will not work. Device Info: Version information about the Ultra Everdrive64. Self Test: Run a self diagnostics test. RTC Setup: Set Real-Time Clock. About: Information about the creator of the Ultra Everdrive64. Also has button function information.”
  • Load Times: The load times on the Ultra Everdrive64 are absolutely astounding. I know that I had read that it may take a few seconds to load the game into flash memory, depending on the size. However, I really thought I’d be staring at a loading screen for much longer than I was. But even with the largest title that I tested, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, I still found that I was waiting maybe 3 seconds in total. Maybe that sounds like a long time to you, but three seconds is incredibly fast and I’m willing to bet it’s faster than other carts or the older versions of this cart. It’s such a negligible amount of time that I don’t even think that having a loading pop up window is necessary.
  • Form Factor: Just like the other flash carts that KRIKzz has released, this one is also built out superbly. The external shell is rugged and tough, just like Nintendo’s official shells. There is a nice, clean sticker on the front. There is another golden informative sticker on the back. I’m not sure to credit KRIKzz or Stone Age Gamer, but either way, they look smashing! There is a small black plug on the side for when you might need to have access to the USB port for homebrew work. The inside where the board is is so beautiful and clean. Getting inside of the cart is also easy as they use standard Phillips screws, none of that tri-wing nonsense. On the top there is an SD card port for the SD card loaded with your games. The card gets in and out with ease and when it’s inside of the cart, it’s quite flush. Lastly, this cart is modified on the bottom to work in all regions of the Nintendo 64. So if you have a Japanese, PAL/EUR, or US N64, it shouldn’t matter at all. You should be able to plug and play. Talk about how this cart should physically work in all regions.
  • Gameplay: At this point, you must be wondering how the “emulation” is. Obviously, in the way that the flash cart works, we shouldn’t really be calling it emulation. Since the OS loads the ROM into the flash memory of the cart and then starts it on official hardware, it’s not emulation. The official hardware is present and running the game accordingly. So really, we’re wondering well the gameplay is as well as the percentage of games that will run on this Ultra Everdrive64. Well, let’s talk about that. There was no way I could logically play every title from every region to see if they work or not. I did find a thread that has been around for 7 years now and what I’ve determined is the following. Out of all Nintendo 64 regions, there are a total of 388 unique games. Out of all of those games, only six do not appear to work.

Cons:

  • Free Games? As mentioned before you get a pack of 5 titles. It’s worth noting here that Dragon Sword is technically incomplete. Yes, it’s still great you get 4 complete games for free. But one of them isn’t finished. It could be fun messing around in a broken game, but not for myself. And since I fear I may not be the only one, it’s worth mentioning this. I’d like to point out that this isn’t a downside of the cart, but Stone Age Gamer. I know it’s a strange complaint, “Free is free! Who cares, just don’t play it!” Yes, but my point is, I’d rather another full-fledged game in its place if I’m promised 5 games. No big deal though.
  • SD Card Troubles. MicroSD cards do not seem to play nice with this. I tried and tried to get 6 different microSD cards to work and none of them did. I tried just one standard-sized SD Card and it worked the first time.
  • Hot key: No hot key support so that I can exit back to the main menu of the flash drive. You have to get up, walk over to your N64, press the reset button and then it goes back to the Everdrive main menu. Not a massive complaint, but given the nature of reviewing games and products, getting up for me now has to happen more. I think a hotkey combination on the controller would be far more useful. How about a Z, Start, and Down? Sounds like a combination that you’d never press in any game and still simple to do.

Ultra Everdrive64 X7 Release:

So just under our nose snuck in a new release. Obviously, if we had known this was on the horizon, we would’ve held off to try the X7 instead. But by looking at the features we’re about to mention, it may just be for more eclectic retro gamers. The features in it are very extra and you should be just fine with a V3 like mine if you are just a laid back, casual gamer. That’s not to say that the following features are bad, they’re quite great, just maybe a bit over the top.

  • ‘Supports both PAL and NTSC systems.
  • UltraCIC III with region auto detection.
  • RTC support.
  • Micro SD and SDHC cards are supported.
  • Fast loading. Speed up to 23 Mbyte/s.
  • Supports .nes ROM format via built-in emulator.
  • Gamepak saves support (SRAM, SRAM128Kbyte, EEPROM16k, EEPROM4k, FlashRam)
  • GameShark cheats.
  • IPS/APS patches.
  • USB port for development.’

Overall Thoughts:

This is a great, fantastic, inspiring, fun, useful, awesome flash cart. I used to think that my GBA flash cart was my favorite, but that has been pushed out of the top spot now by this thing. What is also worth note here is that with the release of the X7, you’ll find these v3 carts for a much better price. I know that this cart has been worth every penny that others have spent on it. Some people out there actually want to play games. Especially ones like Sculptor’s Cut of Clayfighters. Maybe you own Clayfighters but you don’t want to pay out the wazzoo just to see the small differences in the Sculptor’s Cut. Buying this flash cart alone with it’s very few cons, means you can have that on your screen for the same cost if not cheaper than one elusive N64 game. The pros outweigh the cons to me. If you’d prefer to get your hands on the newer X7, you can do that too, you know it’s going to at least be as good as the V3. Hopefully, some of my complaints will have been addressed at that time.

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