Review by John K.
I’m sure you heard of the company named Datel before. They are the world’s most well known developer of third party console add-ons. The Action Replay from Datel has to be one of their most well known products (if not THE most known). Recently Datel has expanded their product-line with the Action Replay MAX, MAX Drive (review coming soon) and the product we are reviewing today: the Advance Game Port. We are reviewing the new version of this product, with built-in Cheat Code Creator.
Upon arrival, the first thing I noticed is that the box was fifty percent thinner than the first version of the AGP. The AGP comes inside a cardboard box with a plastic casing. Inside I found an instruction manual, a customer support/warranty sheet, a Cheat Construction Kit tutorial disc, an AGP play disc and of course the AGP itself.
At first I didn’t think I would have to read the instruction manual (who reads them anyway), so I plugged in the AGP in the memory card slot A and fired up the GameCube. After about ten minutes of fiddling and testing, I realized I must have been doing something wrong, because I was getting errors with launching my game.
After a quick look through the manual, I realized the AGP doesn’t work when inserted in memory card slot A. I find this a bit weird, because on all of the pictures on the box (both the old and new version) the AGP is plugged into memory card slot A and judging from the pictures, the people who are playing it are having lots of fun.
After I finally got it working, I decided to play the game I was busy playing at that time on the GameBoy Advance; Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. I was surprised when I launched it and it said that there was no save file found. I was pretty disappointed to find out that the AGP doesn’t read SRAM.
Getting back to the menu I saw two options, Cheat Construction Kit and Advance Game Port Player. When you choose Advance Game Port Player, you will be presented with a sub menu where you can select Left/Right to choose from loading your GBA game or one of the 10 games that Datel made and put on the software disc. The games are Bounty Hunter, Chopper 2, Dragon Tiles 3, Invaders, Jetpack 2, Loop the Loop, Paddle Panic, Popem, Proxima and Super Power Shot.
Advance Game Port Player
When you choose to load your own GBA game, you will be asked to insert the game in the AGP and press A to continue. On this screen you can also adjust your screen by moving the C-stick and pressing L or R to zoom in or out.
After a short loading screen, paired with Datel advertising, you will be presented with your game. The controls are as followed:
When you press the Z-trigger on your GameCube controller, you will be presented with the AGP in-game menu where you can see the code list (if there are any codes entered for the game in the Cheat Construction Kit), press Start to return to the Game Selection screen and the option to press X or Y to either Save or Load a Snapshot.
A Snapshot is an instant save file that is stored on the memory card in slot A. For each game you can have only one Snapshot file. Saving a Snapshot file takes 55 blocks on the memory card, so you can imagine your memory card will get full quite soon if you have a couple GBA games. Ian from Datel was generous enough to send me their GameCube MAX Memory Card of 128 MB. This memory card has over 2000 blocks, so I can save quite a lot of GBA Snapshot files on this card. If you are thinking about buying the AGP, I suggest you take a look at the MAX Memory as well, because it’s quite cheap and it enables you to save a lot of Snapshot files.
Cheat Construction Kit
A new feature of the AGP is the Cheat Construction Kit. I’m sure you all have heard of the term “trainer” before. If not, it’s a little program you run and allows you to cheat in games. The Cheat Construction Kit does almost the same thing. You go in the Cheat Construction Kit menu and start creating your cheats. You save them on the memory card and when you play the game, you press Z and the available cheats show up.
I have made a lot of trainers for PC in the past myself and I must say the Cheat Construction Kit is very easy to use and very effective. Unfortunately there’s no debugger built in, so you can’t do the really advanced stuff, but you can do some fun stuff. At one point, I made Ty the Tasmanian tiger fly around. This is a very nice addition to the AGP.
The amount of things you can “hack” in a game depends on your own imagination and creativity.
The AGP is definitely the simplest and cheapest solution to playing GBA games on your television. There’s only one thing I dislike about the AGP and that’s the poor sound emulation. The sound is very glitchy and you notice this immediately if you have a 6.1 surround set like I do.
There is no hardware change necessary from the old AGP to the new AGP, so I hope Datel will sell the new discs separately for the users who already have the old AGP.
Ultimately, this is definitely a product you should consider buying.
I would like to thanks Ian Osborne from Datel for providing me with the Advance Game Port and the GameCube MAX Memory Card.