SuperCard Lite Rumble Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by shaunj66, Dec 21, 2006.

Dec 21, 2006

SuperCard Lite Rumble Review by shaunj66 at 4:13 PM (41,323 Views / 0 Likes) 0 replies

  1. shaunj66

    Administrator shaunj66 Administrator

    Oct 24, 2002
    South England
    United Kingdom review of the...

    SuperCard Lite Rumble [​IMG]

    Manufactured by: SuperCard Team
    Review kit supplied by:

    Review samples supplied by: GameYeeeah

    By shaunj66 - 10th December 2006

    Review Contents:
    • Introduction
    • Packaging and Contents
      - Box Contents
    • The SuperCard Rumble Itself
    • Using the SuperCard Rumble
      - Client Software
      - GUI
    • Performance
      - SuperCard Rumble vs. Official Nintendo DS Rumble Pak
      - Battery life results
    • Conclusion
    First, let me thank KickTrading for sending us a sample SuperCard Rumble for this review. Thanks guys! [​IMG] And a big thank you to the friendly guys over at Winsunx for providing me with review equipment - the DS Rumble Pak. (

    The SuperCard Rumble is a cheaper alternative version of the already released SuperCard. It's cheaper as it lacks the ability to play GBA games. Instead, it now has a built in rumble feature!

    As we have already reviewed the SuperCard here at GBAtemp. This review will primarily cover the differences in the Rumble version and any additional/new features.

    SuperCard Rumble Official Features List:
    • Features Rumble Pak
    • All games can be made to rumble.
    • 100% DS game compatibility and Save function.
    • Extend playing time- New Power Save Design
    • High Speed Read/Rewrite system, now supports high speed memory without slowdowns.
    • Supports compressed ROMs
    • Supports REST to main menu so it's easy to change games
    • Supports save to flash memory so your saves are safe
    • Compact Menu System, Mulitgame support
    • 100% compatible with moonshell, turn your DS into a multimedia system
    • See movies, read E-books, play music, see pictures and more.
    • Super Game Cheat system.
    • Real Time Save - save your games instantly when ever you like it.
    • Fast transfers
    • Unlimited storage capacity (just use more/bigger microSD cards).
    • Great Fun and Value!
    • No GBA Support
    Let's get on with the review!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Packaging and Contents
    The SuperCard rumble comes in a small and neat cardboard box. The card itself rests inside a plastic inner tray to prevent damage during delivery.
    The box looks good, and has a brief rundown of features on the back that are STILL written in horrible Engrish which there is really no excuse for now the SuperCard team are so well established.

    Box Contents
    • 1x SuperCard Rumble
    The only thing you're going to find inside the box is the SuperCard Rumble cart. That means no setup CD or manual... But hey, at least that keeps costs down.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The SuperCard Rumble Itself
    The SuperCard Rumble is the SuperCard teams equivalent of the M3 Professional. This new budget range of already released cards simply lack the ability to play GBA ROMs and focus purely on DS compatibility. This allows the manufacturers to save money on production and thus cut the sale price drastically by leaving off the onboard flash RAM memory which was used to load GBA games.

    Unlike the M3 Professional, the SuperCard team decided to add something in place of the missing flash memory - a rumble feature. A vibrating motor similar to those found in mobile/cell phones. The official Nintendo rumble pak has been out for a while already and some games take full advantage of the official rumble pak by providing force feedback during gameplay.

    The SuperCard Rumble comes in three variations - A flush fitting dust-cover sized version designed for the DS Lite which takes micro SD cards, a
    mini-SD version the size of a regular GBA game pak, and a regular SD size version the size of the original SuperCard. The Lite version is available in White or Black casing (and pink and ice blue at few selected stores), the other versions come in a transparent purple casing.
    For our review, I am looking at the Lite version with a white casing.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The Lite version of the SuperCard Rumble is DS Lite dust-cover sized, and uses the improved version of the SuperCard lite casing (the original casing was much more of a tight fit).
    The micro SD slot is unfortunately not spring loaded, but does fit into the micro SD slot securely and doesn't feel like it could fall out. Also, as the micro SD slot is located on the top of the SuperCard casing, this means you can easily remove and re-insert the micro SD card without removing the entire SuperCard cart from your DS Lite.

    The SuperCard Rumble fits inside the DS Lite extremely easily and doesn't rub against the sides or feel like a tight fit at all. It can be removed just as easily and with minimum effort. A huge improvement over the original SuperCard Lite casing.

    The cart does fit flush, and looks extremely smooth inside the DS Lite. If you look at it from different angles you can clearly see it doesn't stick out at all, and matches the same curve of the DS Lite perfectly.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    You can see the rumble motor in the photos of the disassembled SuperCard Lite Rumble below. As you can see, the overall design of the PCBs is the same as the original SuperCard Lite. The micro SD slot is on a separate PCB and connected via a flat ribbon cable.

    The rumble motor in the SuperCard rumble is not the same as an official rumble pak. The SuperCard uses a very cheap motor that is the same type as used in mobile/cell phones, the official DS rumble pak uses a sliding rumble motor.

    Overall the build quality of the card is very good, and feels quite solid. The casing is held together by two philips head screws on the back of the casing. Although the cart doesn't have the same glossy finish as the original dust-cover, it still looks good.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Using the SuperCard Rumble
    The SuperCard Rumble uses different software and firmware than the other SuperCards. Fortunately the team seem to update both at the same time so far, so users of different cards should get simultaneous updates.

    As the SuperCard Rumble doesn't come packaged with a setup CD, you need to head on over to the SuperCard English website and download the latest firmware and software.

    SuperCard Rumble Software:

    The SuperCard Rumble software is almost identical to the original SuperCard software, and the team have even stated that they plan to incorporate the rumble options into a universal patcher software for all SuperCards, but whether it will happen or not is uncertain.

    The only new feature in the Rumble version of the software is, when you add a ROM and double click it or choose properties from the right-click menu; there will be added options for enabling and customising the rumble.

    Now when the SuperCard team stated that "All games can be made to rumble." they weren't joking. Here's a screenshot of the only options available related to the rumble feature:

    As you can see, you soon realise what they meant... The only way of using the rumble feature within the client software it to enable and assign buttons presses to generate rumble. You can also change the intensity of the rumble from "0 - 100" which actually just seems to change how long the rumble will last when you press and hold a button, the lower the value the quicker the burst, the higher the longer the motor will rumble when the button is held. You have the option to have any number of the following buttons perform rumble feedback: 'R, L, A, B, X, Y'.

    In my opinion this leaves a LOT to be desired. Especially when there are certain games out there for the DS that have proper rumble support and that give feedback properly in game, similar to what you'd expect from rumble on a console game, and not just to have the cart rumble at you when you press a button.
    I think when everyone first heard of the SuperCard rumble that this feature would be the first one the team would work on having supported, but we're still waiting for it!

    Now, the team have released one single IPS patch that enables the SuperCard rumble system to work as it should in one game - "Metroid Prime Pinball". This patch needs to be applied to the game ROM after running it through the SuperCard patching software.
    Then, the rumble does mimic that of the real Nintendo rumble pak and feedback intensity varies just as it should. I just hope the SuperCard team add support for all official DS rumble pak supported games and incorporate it into their client software rather than relying on external IPS patches.

    SuperCard Rumble GUI (OS)

    The SuperCard Rumble GUI looks the same as the normal SuperCard, just with an updated skin (that will be used on future non-rumble SuperCards soon). The bottom screen has large SuperCard and Rumble logos scattered on it.

    There are the usual four tabs - 'List, Saver, Options, Help'. The options menu, is completely empty due to the lack of GBA support which is kind of strange. And the help menu merely tells you the button combo for resetting to the SuperCard GUI from within a game (providing the game was patched in the client to support it).

    Overall the GUI is the same as the older SuperCards, which we've already reviewed.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    SuperCard Rumble Performance
    Now let's see how the rumble feature actually performs in game!

    What I've found out is that, the intensity option in the SuperCard rumble software doesn't affect the actual "intensity" of the feedback. Rather, it just changes how long the rumble actually lasts. The lower the setting, the quicker the burst of rumble when you press an assigned button, and the higher the value, the longer the rumble will last when a button is held.

    How does the rumble feel? Just like a mobile/cell phone to be honest! Just stronger. The motor also generates more noise than I would have expected too - it's LOUD. If you have the intensity set to 100 and hold down a button, it sounds like a truck horn!

    There seems to be a strange problem with the rumble feature too. I'm not sure if this one can be fixed in a firmware update or software update. But some games just don't work well with it at all. For example, I tried assigning the jump button in New Super Mario Bros. to use the rumble. But once you get past the menus and into the game, the rumble barely works and half the time it doesn't work at all.
    Perhaps it's down to how much CPU is being used on the DS or perhaps how much data is coming off the SuperCard at the time. But some games just don't rumble properly, even with the intensity changed to maximum.

    Also, unfortunately, the rumble doesn't do any favours to the SuperCard regarding compatibility either. If I try assigning rumble to a button in Mario Kart DS, the ROM doesn't even work on the SuperCard Lite Rumble, and if I re-patch it with rumble disabled it works...

    SuperCard Rumble vs. Official Nintendo DS Rumble Pak

    I wanted to compare the SuperCard Lite rumble to the official DS rumble pak in different games, but seeing as it would be inaccurate to test it with a random intensity setting; the only game I CAN use to compare it against the Nintendo rumble pak is "Metroid Prime Pinball" as the team have released an IPS patch for this game (and only this game) to mimic the official rumble pak.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The results were surprising! Using the patched Metroid Prime Pinball on the SuperCard Rumble, the feedback was at practically the same levels as the official Nintendo DS rumble pak, but it was a LOT quieter (which is odd, as using the client software to assign a button to rumble in a non-rumble supported game is louder than any noise that has come out of the official rumble pak!).
    Using the official rumble pak on Metroid Prime Pinball produced a loud buzzing noise every time the cart rumbled.

    A lot of people thought that you could use the SuperCard rumble as an alternative to the official rumble pak in conjunction with a slot 1 card and a clean ROM that supports rumble. Unfortunately this can't be done. The clean ROM in slot 1 just doesn't see a rumble pak in slot 2. I'm not sure if this was technically possible, as perhaps the pins on the slot 2 are used for different things on the SuperCard rumble and Nintendo Rumble pak, but it could have been a nice feature if it did work.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Regarding other performance, there's no real need for me to go over ROM compatibility etc... as we've already covered this in many of our other reviews!

    FYI; regarding GBA compatibility - we know the SuperCard rumble series have had the flash memory removed that's primarily used for loading and playing GBA ROMs thus stripping the SuperCard Rumble series of their GBA support, but not entirely. You can still load GBA ROMs under 32Mb on the cart. So it's not ruled out completely, this is good news for all the GBA homebrew out there.

    Battery Life Results:

    Results are not ready yet. Check back soon!

    The rumble feature of the SuperCard Rumble series is really just for novelty value, and just something cheap the team have slapped in to make up for the lack of real GBA support. I really can't see anyone using the rumble feature the way they implemented it (by assigning button presses to rumble) after trying it once or twice. The patch for "Metroid Prime Pinball" to use the rumble pak just as it would use a real rumble pak is perhaps the only good use of the rumble feature, and until they implement this into the client software and add support for other rumble enabled games - it's really just a half arsed effort.

    That being said, the SuperCard Rumble is really still a great card, and keeps the same high compatibility of the original SuperCard series. It's a good thing you're not forced to use the rumble feature, and you can just leave it disabled if it's not your thing.

    If you're on a budget and are looking for a cart with solid NDS compatibility, a large userbase, good build quality and don't mind the lack of real GBA support then the SuperCard Rumble might just be what you're looking for.

    + Very affordable
    + Great build quality
    + Expandable storage via micro SD
    + Still has solid NDS compatibility
    + It rumbles...

    - ...The rumble implementation is somewhat lacking
    - No real GBA support
    - Very loud rumble motor
    - Homebrew that takes advantage of slot 2 memory (eg. DS Linux) won't work

    No overall score. This is just a review of the new hardware design and rumble feature.
    If you want to read more about the SuperCard please check our other reviews!

    Affiliated sites
    Purchase this cart from our affiliated shops:


    External Links:
    - Official English SuperCard Website

    This review was made for ONLY. If you see it on any other site please
    let me know via e-mail - shaunj66 [@at@] GBAtemp [.dot.] net

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