Review - EZ2 Powerstar

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by TheStump, Sep 3, 2006.

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Sep 3, 2006

Review - EZ2 Powerstar by TheStump at 4:57 PM (2,946 Views / 0 Likes) 0 replies

  1. TheStump

    Member TheStump Got Wood?

    May 8, 2006
    EZ2 PowerStar 1Gb
    For GBA/GBA SP and NDS/NDSLite

    The EZ2 Powerstar cart is made by the EZ-team, the same team behind all the EZ model carts, like the new EZ4Lite and EZ3 cart. The EZ2 is the predecessor of these two carts, and despite its age now, you will be surprised how versatile the product still is. The cart was made before the release of the NDS handheld and was made purely for GBA use, but when the NDS was released before any DS generation carts were made it was stated across the net that the EZ2 Powerstar 1Gb will be the most compatible cart for ROMs on the NDS. This news went alongside the release of the firmware hack Flashme, which made it possible to use your GBA cart to play NDS ROMs on your hack system.
    I’m well aware that this NDS mode if considered a bonus to any holder of an EZ2 Powerstar so I will not let the NDS features effect the carts overall review negatively. [​IMG]

    I have chosen to review the 1Gb version of the EZ2 Powerstar [I will be referring to it now as EZ2 for the rest of the review]. Now to start with, don’t get confused like most do about the size, this is not referring to 1Gb as One Gigabyte it’s actually One Gigabit, which converted to Bytes is roughly 125MB [Megabytes].
    The cart also has some nice features like;
    -RTC [Real time clock]
    -1024mb or 125MB of space
    -8192K or 8MB of SRAM [save space]
    -SMS [Savegame Management System]
    -Soft reset
    -cheat function
    -NES/GB/GBC/PCE inbuilt emulator
    -GBA cart clone [Great build quality]

    At first glance the box art is quite stylish but a little outdated. On the side of the box is a legend, the marked box will indicate which size cart you have. In this example the 1Gb box is ticked indicating I have 1Gb cart.
    Inside the box is what we really care about though. The packaging is set out nicely, nothing is crammed inside and it’s not just a GBA cart inside an envelop. I have labeled all the parts that come in the box, we have;
    1x EZ Writer
    1x EZ GBA cart 1Gb
    1x USB printer cable
    1x Warning note.

    I was shocked to see there was NO CD or instructions on what to do next or where to get the software. So I help u all out check out this site.
    EZ-Flash Home
    and for the English speaking customers there is a great fan based site that can help you with everything from setting up to ROM issues, check this site out;
    Fan based Forum
    Not only will the members be happy to help you but there is all the software you’ll need on the main download page, so check it out.

    Getting Started
    Once you have got all the parts out of the box it’s time to install. Now first things first, if you are running a MAC the software will not work. Much like all the other EZ carts there is NO support for MAC users which can results on some major work rounds for people not running a windows OS. I suggest get a PC with windows, borrow a mates PC or wait it out, but for a heads up I have been using EZ products for about 2 years and still have not seen one trace of MAC supported software come out from the EZ-Team.
    Anyways, firstly pick up the latest copy of EZclient [there is also an EZ4client so don’t get confused, but it will pay off to grab this too while you are hunting down your software].
    -Get EZclient
    -Follow the setup.
    When you plug the EZ-Writer in now the Red light should change to green.
    [If this does not happed check out the EZ forums]
    -Insert your GBA EZ2 cart into the writer…

    Tested with EZclient 3.26
    -Run EZclient.exe
    ^This is what the client looks like; your cart should be recognized under the ROM lists section that is currently highlighted.
    I have noticed sometimes the cart is recognized as something else like;
    ^Don’t worry though, I have found that taking the EZ2 cart out then putting it back in normally fixes this issues. This is often cause by dirty contacts or roughly inserting the cart into the EZ-Writer.

    But What the heck does all these options mean?...
    Ok ill go from left to right;

    ^The Open ROM option is basically opens a new window for you to choose what file you want to burn onto the cart. The client accepts;

    ^The client will indicate how much Rom space and Ram space your cart has left. Once you read 100% on either you will not be able to add anymore files to your current ROM list.
    ^The Delete option just allows you to delete the most recent file added to the ROM list on your EZ2. You can delete one after the other until there are no ROMs in the List.
    ^Once you have set up all the ROMs on the ROM list just click burn and give it some time to copy the files across. Normally GBA games burn fairly quickly but it all depends on the games size, if you have add a lot of games I suggest give it about 15-10 mins to copy it all over.

    FROM HERE, ONCE THE ROMS ARE COPIED OVER YOU CAN PLAY THEM But if you are curious about the other features the client has keep

    ^This feature allows the user to DUMP/RIP their own games [e.g., think of it like making a backup of a CD] to get this method to work;
    -insert a GBA game cart into the EZ-Writer
    -wait for it to read

    It should look like this. ^
    -CLICK read ROM
    -it will prompt you where to save and what to save as.

    ^You can save as a *.gba file or a *.bin file. [gba is normally the best bet though]
    -let the client make the backup.
    Now you can add this backup to the ROM list, so now you don’t have to carry all your games around, just one EZ2 cart. I suggest make a backup of all your GBA games so you can put your priceless games back in their boxes to save them getting worn and torn.
    ^Use this option to write your save game to the ROM you have selected.
    ^Use this to make a backup save of the game you have selected in the Rom List.
    As mentioned earlier EZ2 also has a SMS [save game management system].which is situated in the client aligned with the title ROM list, it’s about the 4th tab over
    ^The SMS feature will allow you to manage your saves on your handheld system without having to use the PC all the time. This function can store multiple saves files of the same game on the EZ2 cart. This function is great if you are sharing an RPG game with someone and don’t want to lose YOUR save game. SMS will let you alternate between saves. To enable SMS, tick it in the ‘system config’ tab at the very top of the client.
    ^Also while we are discussing this tab, you will notice that there are 2 loaders to choose from. [Use GBA loader and Use NDS loader]
    As I mentioned earlier in the review the EZ2 was not made for the NDS console but is now considered a bonus for EZ2 users, so if you DO have a NDS console and want to use the EZ2 on it, select USE NDS LOADER.


    The Loaders

    GBA loader
    When you boot up your EZ2 cart using the GBA loader, you will get this visual. As you can see the loader supports long file names which is great and also has a HELP function as you can see.
    Loader controls
    |A| Start game
    |B| Start game
    |L| Help menu
    |SEL| time settings

    The next two functions need SMS enabled
    |L+A| restore saver
    |L+B| backup saver

    The loader is very easy to use and there is no load times for GBA games.

    NDS loader
    IMMPORTANT: to play NDS you need to install a firmware hack known as Flashme or buy a Passme device. Both methods allow the NDS to boot both screens from the GBA side of the handheld. [​IMG]
    Much like the GBA loader, the NDS loader is very easy to navigate, not much inbuilt besides the SMS function. You can also play GBA games on this loader as well, so it pays off to have a NDS.


    Okay this is where the EZ2 really shines, out of all the games I have tested, which is A LOT, I have not have one issue with a GBA game. EZ2 gba compatibility is said to be perfect, if you can prove it wrong ill give you my soul.
    -GBA compatibility PERFECT
    -saves are also PERFECT

    Also the RTC [Real Time Clock] that was mentioned earlier comes into play here, see most of the Pokèmon series is based on time settings. The Pokèmon games have their own RTC in the gba cart, so EZ-team has also added a RTC to support Pokèmon [time effected] games. Also the RTC is handy just because it tells the time as well.

    NDS [consider this a bonus]
    Okay so we know the EZ2 is great for GBA but what was I saying earlier about EZ2 running NDS ROMs?
    Well despite its age, EZ2 has better compatibility then its successor EZ3 with NDS support. So far the EZ-team are keeping the EZclient up to date with the EZ4 compatibility despite the minor issues with some older NDS games that either need certain tweaks or just don’t run.
    -good compatibility
    -most saves are fine

    The NDS support is still a bonus remember and keeping that in mind it’s a great bonus, at the moment to only games that I have had major issues with are;
    -Pokèmon dash
    -Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land

    Other JPN titles and new releases have issues but if you NEED/WANT all games working for the NDS, I recommend purchasing a newer cart based on the NDS technology. So for those of you like me that don’t mind that some new releases aren’t currently working and are just content with playing the more popular games like;
    -Super Mario 64 DS
    -Advanced wars DS
    -Metroid Prime Hunters
    -Mariokart DS

    And as a foot note also the Wi-Fi feature works fine too with the EZ2.

    Emulators, homebrew and Media

    So we know that the EZ2 is perfect for GBA play, and quite a good NDS cart substitute, but what about emulators and media.
    Well there’s a wack of homebrew that doesn’t work for the NDS [with exception to moonshell, but it only allows the user to put 30MB of files on the cart], basically because the homebrew scene for NDS started on the GBAMP [game boy advance media player] which was based on removable media. But anything that is GBA based will work on this cart. For example;
    -METEO Avi2GBA
    -GBA music player advanced [sound quality varies]
    -GBA slideshow builder
    -Pocket Snes
    -Pocket SMS

    But what is really great is the fact that the EZclient has an inbuilt emulator system for NES/GB/GBC/PCE
    The compatibility is quiet impressive too, every game I have tried has worked and if a game doesn’t work it’s probably because you have downloaded a bad version of the game. [Bad Dump]



    +excellent GBA compatibility, maybe best on the market
    +NDS support [good]
    +great build quality [nearly exact replica of GBA cart]
    +SMS [makes saves very versatile]
    +Real-Time clock
    +Large capacity [saves and ROMs]
    +software easy to use and lots of features
    +can dump your own GBA games
    +Emulates NES/GB/GBC/PCE with the main software


    -No support for Mac users
    -little to NO instructions [hope this review helps]
    -English support is Not Official but run by Fans
    -a few hiccups when burning and reading ROMs [rarely]


    I would say the one thing that lets this product down is its lack of instructions and info on where get to software, if your lucky enough though your supplier will have the info on their site.. [​IMG]

    Helpful Links
    Product purchased from Jandaman
    EZ-Flash Home
    English fan forum

    -CHeers [​IMG]
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