augusti 27, 2014

Mega CD (Sega CD), repair, impressions and gameplay

I got a Mega CD recently.

It didn't work so I took it apart and replaced some components on the power board that looked like they corroded the board. After that it powered up, but there was problems with the tray. It didn't move in and move out smoothly and the CD didn't read.

So I took a look at
Sega CD systems repair thread. It listed a whole bunch of things that could be wrong. But it didn't say what was most common. This is typical of people with less experience who start to replace every possible component.

Suppose your car doesn't start. If you ask some random guy on a forum he might give you 25 reasons that could be wrong, in all kindness. But even I who don't have a car knows that first you should check the battery, then maybe oil, etc, before you start replacing every single component.

People also give long threads about how to move the wheels around and so on. But i know from my experience of calibrating FDS that in 90% of cases, the calibration depends on 2-3 things, and that people who don't know will give you around 20 things they suggest you  should do when in reality the problem is usually careful adjustment of those 2-3 things.

Luckily, I found a thread at digitpress and at the bottom a guy with some experience said he always suggested replacing the drive belt. . Thank you "oldskool". I went back to the sega-16 thread and saw some suggestions for replacement belts (with some suspicious suggestions in between), of which I chose to buy a "DVD Drive Tray Motor Rubber Belt for XBox 360 Slim" from eBay for 2.5$ and it arrived in about a week.

Worked perfectly, and the the tray moves smooth and with a strong movement. So that was excellent, and it reads perfectly too.

The one little problem is a studdering in the sound, a dudududu sound that is noticeable in some games such as Night Trap. It might actually be that the console makes this sound by default because it seems to be an early model without grounding. I tried replacing a bunch of capacitors ("caps"), and I tried to ground some things in very rudimentary way with wires, but NO CHANGE what so ever... I decided against spending 20 hours more on this, if it might even be the default behavior. Anyways, it is fully playable and I thought it was good enough to sell.

Now, I am going to make the opposite of the AVGN... Here is his "review". He took some games, said they sucked (although he briefly said Sonic CD is the best Sonic game, and Sol-Feace and Terminator were good game) , and then scream that "the Sega CD FUCKING SUCKS!"


First of all, I made a review of Night Trap in my last post, so I won't mention that game here again. But I enjoyed it, the way I enjoy many "crappy" games (it might not be for everyone...). In that blog post I also wrote why I like the Mega CD, so do check it out, because I won't write the same here again.

First of all, I want to say that these gameplay videos were recorded with RCA cables and have MUCH worse quality than an RGB cable would have.  

Sol-Feace is a rather generic shooter game. The soundtrack improves the game, I think. A cheap game, around 10$.


Bari-Arm is a Mega-CD exclusive. I am not a shoot'em up fan in general, so I'll just link to hardcore gaming to explain why this is a must-own game:


Sold for 159 SEK (24$, incl 25% VAT). The usual list price is twice that, but this game had the nasties manual I have ever seen. It literally has mold on the pages.

Earnest Evans. It is an Indiana Jones type of game. Not a great game and I wish they would have done a better CD-quality soundtrack, but I think a platforming fan would enjoy it after they learn the controls. (this game is also sold already, for around 15$)
Prince of Persia. First it required me to free some save game space on the console so I had to try to do that for the first time, but I did it without much difficulty. You see, the console has save game space built in, just like a Sega Saturn.


No special addition to the original here, it is simply Prince of Persia, if you enjoy that.

Sonic CD - I spent a couple of hours with.

The higher speed compared to previous Sonic games, more colors, and CD sound shows how to make the most of a 2D sonic game. If you are a Nintendo fan, imagine if someone would have done the same with the Mega Man series. (we didn't need any lame 3D versions of those games, thank you!)

I also played a little of the excellent port of Final Fight. Better than the SNES version in my opinion.

I tried some other FMV (Full motion video) games, and they were boring, as is well known. However, I think a console should be evaluated by its good games and not by its unplayable stuff.

Well, my Sega CD is already sold (999 SEK, or 150$ incl 25% VAT) but I liked it so I'm going to be buying more of it. The Mega CD 2 is more reliable so I might try that next, although I suspect most Mega CD 1 can be fixed by simple methods.

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