Review - EZF-Advance III

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Covarr, Aug 22, 2006.

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Aug 22, 2006

Review - EZF-Advance III by Covarr at 2:25 AM (2,313 Views / 0 Likes) 0 replies

  1. Covarr

    Member Covarr Sentient Cash Register

    Oct 21, 2005
    Far East of Eden
    United States

    You've heard of EZF, EFA, EZFA, and all that jazz. The EZF-Advance III follows in that naming tradition by kidnapping the name of a competitor, EZF Advance, claiming to have made the EZF Advance themselves, and releasing a ripoff whose name is intended to sell more units. If you've ever used a "Smart Card" then don't bother reading this review, because this is actually just Smart Card under a different, better known name. In the few places that still sell these (linker4u), it will cost you about $50US for a 128Mb version, and $60 for a 256Mb version, plus shipping. Despite the lower-than-average price, though, this cart is not one to waste your money on, not even a penny.


    The box is a cheap cardboard box that is made out of material slightly thinner than a GBA game box. Fortunately, mine was shipped carefully, so it arrived intact. Inside the box you will find a blue cartridge, a blue linker, a white USB cable, and a minidisc. The design of the device itself is much like EZ-Flash 3, but a different color. Don't even bother with the minidisc though, it doesn't work. The drivers must be downloaded from the internet.


    Both the linker and the cartridge seem well-built at first, but after a few months you may notice the seams coming apart like a cheap pair of shoes, as if they are only being held together by elmers glue. Furthermore, for some screwy reason, the included USB cable might not work (mine was fine, but there have been many reports of this problem). If this is the case, you will have to go out and buy a new one if you don't have one from some other device to use. It's really unpleasant.


    To give you an idea of what the software is like, let's start with a picture.


    And for your convenience, I've corrected the mislabeled buttons and explained other features.


    As you can see by the second picture, the software is both badly translated and poorly coded. To make matters worse, the help file is not translated at all. Unless you read chinese, your pretty much left on your own to figure all this crap out. When you first get your cartridge, you need to format it by clicking erase. After that, you select the roms you put in with the select button. You then press Wri. Rom to write to the cartridge. Here's where it gets tricky. It will ONLY WRITE A SAVE TO THE FIRST ROM ON THE CARTRIDGE! If you have two roms, it will write a save game for the first. The reason for this is that it joins all the roms into one before flashing the cartridge, such that only this program and the loader can tell them apart. Basically, you'll do fine if you put a saving rom in first and a non-saving rom (such as most of the Classic NES series) in second.

    It is possible to have multiple save files on the cartridge, though. Only the first one can be written by the computer, but you can choose a "Save Position" for each rom. The save positions are numbered 0-7, and some save types take up more than one position. Specifically, EEP4k takes up one slot, SRAM, EEP64k and Flash take up two, and Flash1M uses four. The cartridge will autodetect save types, but it won't automatically assign save positions. Furthermore, it misdects EEP4k as EEP64k, and will not save properly once flashed unless you manually correct the error.

    The "Clear SRAM" button crashes the program, the "Logo Select" button supposedly allows you to choose a picture for the logo, but instead makes it look garbled. The "Menu Loader" and "Logo Check" options don't actually do anything, they are only there, but the loader will show up IF AND ONLY IF you have multiple roms on the cartridge. The "CRC32 Value" button does just what it says, along with clearing the SRAM on your cart. If you do decide to have multiple roms, "English Name" allows you to type the name that will show up on the loader, but it has a 16 character limitation. "Chinese Name" seems to have no visible effect.

    If you're feeling particularly ambitious, you can put whatever number you want in the "Game Total" box. When the loader opens on the GBA, it will normally say "x Games in 1", with "x" being the number of games on the cart. If you lie about this number in the "Game Total" box, however, it will display the number you put in. It's always fun to play a 6-in-1 pack that only has Super Mario Advance and luminesweeper.


    Once you put some roms on the cartridge, it is time to give it a test run. Somehow, this cartridge manages to run the Classic NES Series games just fine, provided you put in the correct save type. In fact, the cartridge doesn't really have any issues with commercial games. There is, however, a bankswitching problem that comes into play. Specifically, it doesn't bankswitch, and it does erase your saved game if you attempt to bankswitch with pogoshell or anything like that. Even more, it sometimes erases your data if you soft reset (L+R+Start+Select). For normal gameplay, though, once you have a rom on the cart you won't have any problems. It has a nearly perfect compatibility rate, so in this regard I haven't actually seen much better.


    Don't bother with this crap. Just don't bother. If you do, it will kill your father, marry your mother, eat your children, and generally cause harm to your family and mind. Just stay away.
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