Action Replay DS Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by Opium, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. Opium

    Opium PogoShell it to me ™

    Former Staff
    Dec 22, 2002
    Australia review of the...

    Action Replay DS

    By Opium - 25th September 2007

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    You’re a filthy, dirty cheater aren’t you?

    If you are the Action Replay DS (ARDS) will be a great aide for you in your dirty habits. But if you’re not the cheating, hacking type then there’s absolutely no reason for you to want an Action Replay DS or to even read this review.

    Back in the day I owned great old fashioned cheat device for the original Gameboy called a Codebreaker. I loved it for a number of reasons. Not only did it allow me to use cheats to beat games I previously couldn’t, but it included an intuitive rumble feature, save states, and an easy method to hack your own cheats. The Action Replay DS is my first fray into cheating devices since the Codebreaker so I have high expectations of what a cheating device can do.

    Action Replay has been with us since the gaming days of yore, it has built up banks of cheats, hacks and debug mode exploits that have helped us enjoy our games more. Now it’s the Nintendo DS’s turn to be visited by this cheat device authority, but is it actually worth the visit?

    What's Included

    - Action Replay DS cart
    - USB connector cable
    - Instruction booklet
    - Installation CD

    Features (from the box)

    - Preloaded with loads of codes for the latest and greatest games
    - New codes downloaded seamlessly via USB
    - Full ‘touch screen’ control
    - Colourful hi-resolution graphics

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    The Action Replay DS is slightly larger than an original DS game; however it only sticks out less than 1cm. This extra space is to make room for the tiny USB plug so that you can connect the cart to your computer. It’s a sturdy design which fits nicely into either an original DS or a DS Lite.

    A small amount of onboard memory is included in the Action Replay DS to store the hundreds of cheats you copy over. To update the cheats on the device you must insert the cart into your DS, connect the USB cable and navigate to the update menu. The Action Replay DS should then be found by the client software on your PC, where you can drag and drop new cheats onto the cart. It’s very simple to use, five minutes tinkering around and you’ll be a pro.

    I’m please with how nicely the cartridge is put together; it feels solid and well made. Some people may be put off by the fact that the cartridge sticks out of the DS slot but that is really a non-issue as the ARDS is only inserted in your DS for a short amount of time.


    1. Insert the included installation CD, install the software.
    2. Plug the USB cable into your computer and the ARDS, then plug the ARDS into your DS and boot it up.
    3. Start the Action Replay Code Manager on your PC, your DS should automatically go to the update menu, if not tap the update button.
    4. On your PC it will say found new hardware and Windows will ask you to install drivers for it. Let Windows search and download the drivers itself; the installation CD does not include any drivers (rather strange).
    5. Windows will find one recommended driver, install it and you’re ready to go.
    6. The Action Replay Code Manager should now be able to see your ARDS.

    How to enable a cheat

    (video of using the Action Replay DS)

    The Action Replay DS will NOT run with roms stored on flashcarts (both slot-2 and slot-1), it will only work with original DS games.

    1. Make sure the cheats you want have been loaded onto your ARDS.
    2. Insert the ARDS into your DS then boot it up
    3. The main menu will tell you to insert a game, remove the ARDS while your DS is still on then replace it with your original DS game cart.
    4. The menu should then tell you what the game inserted is and three buttons will show up, GO (start the game), a tick (go to cheat list) and a wrench (options).
    5. Tap on the tick and it will take you to the list of cheats for the game you have inserted, to enable a cheat select it and tap the asterisk button.
    6. When you are ready to start the game press the GO button.

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    The PC-side software is very well designed with no apparent bugs or issues. Its big colourful layout makes it simple to use. On the left hand side is the list of codes currently on your ARDS, on the right under ‘subscriptions’ is the internet synced list of cheats from the Action Replay server. To copy cheats over to your device simply drag and drop from the Subscription list over to the Nintendo DS list.

    You have the option for grabbing codes for US, EU, or JP games. Since I am Australian it’s a pity that there is no list for Australian games. I initially had fears that none of my DS games would be compatible, but thankfully using either the EU or US cheat codes worked for the AUS games I tried. Sometimes the US codes would not work so I had to use the EU codes, it depended on the game.

    The two buttons at the top (shaped like a DS and a Game card) are used to update the PC software or you’re ARDS. Just one click and the software will take care of the rest for you.

    That’s all; there is no other software besides the simple Code Manager.

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    How well does it perform?

    There is one huge drawback with the Action Replay DS. It’s simple. There are no special features; it doesn’t do anything besides run the pre-made cheat codes you download to it.

    For some people that is all they might want, perhaps they just want to play as Shy Guy in Mario Kart DS or have infinite heath in Metroid Prime Hunters. If that’s all you want then the Action Replay DS is for you. It’s easy to use and has codes for most of the popular games.

    However, if you want to make your own codes, or you own a game which has no cheats in the code manager you’ll be out of luck. It’s sad to see that a cheat device from over five years ago has more interesting features than the Action Replay DS. There’s no fiddling with save states for your DS games, no rumble, no decoding of competing manufacturer’s codes and no game hacking. Action Replay DS is a simple device.

    All the codes I’ve tried worked fine. Mario Kart DS is one of the main players with over a dozen codes ranging from unlocking all cups to playing on the beta tracks. Metroid Prime Hunters also has such popular codes as see through walls, moon walk, infinite health, and yes these cheats will work in an online match as well (if you’re so inclined).

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    There’s not much to say about the Action Replay DS. It works fine, it’s easy to use, and the cheat list is big. In those regards it’s very successful, but while using it I kept hoping to be able to do more. I think there is a lot of wasted potential in the device. If you wanted more out of it than the pre-made codes then it’s not worth buying, but if you’re happy with what it offers the Action Replay is a good choice. The Action Replay DS does the bare minimum, but it does it well.


    As of 25th September 2007

    If you own one of the many flash cards with built in AR support (R4DS for example) then the AR DS is obsolete. If you however want a cheat device to use with your legit games then the AR DS is still a sturdy choice. Since the review the ability to add your own cheat codes has been added. Make sure your software is up to date.

  2. Costello

    Costello Headmaster

    Oct 24, 2002
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