SuperPass Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by Opium, Nov 7, 2005.

Nov 7, 2005

SuperPass Review by Opium at 11:34 PM (26,064 Views / 0 Likes) 0 replies

  1. Opium

    Former Staff Opium PogoShell it to me ™

    Dec 22, 2002
    SuperPass Review

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    The SuperPass is the SuperCard’s own commercial PassMe solution. Coupled with the SuperCard, the SuperPass allows gamers with a DS to play homebrew and commercial DS roms cheaply and effectively. Before I go any further, I’d like to thank the excellent Kick Trading for supplying Vince989 and myself with the SuperCards and SuperPasses. Check them out if you’re interested in ordering GBA and DS flashcards. I’m not saying that just because they sponsor us with review samples either, they simply provide very quick shipping and excellent customer support, and I would thoroughly recommend them.
    Vince989 will be adding his comments to this review to further clarify some things and to provide a second opinion.
    The SuperPass is packaged in a rigid plastic box much the same as the SuperCard’s, however I noticed one difference. This time around the writing is in English instead of Chinese, so now I know what it actually says on the box! Well, all six words anyway.


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    For those that don’t know what a PassMe is, I’ll explain what it does. The SuperPass fits into the DS slot and a DS game fits into it. Combined with the SuperCard, the SuperPass allows commercial and homebrew DS roms to be played. The original DS game inserted into the SuperPass (any original DS game card will work) is used to bypass the DS’s encryption and boot DS code from the GBA slot.
    I am happy to say that the SuperPass is constructed infinitely better than the SuperCard CF. The plastic actually feels strong and durable compared to the cheap and flimsy SuperCard CF plastic (my SuperCard CF seems to be warping in my DS, it’s a very tight fit). The SuperPass seems like a really nice commercial PassMe solution, certainly one any SuperCard owner should consider, even if it’s just to get a matching purple set sticking out of your DS. A very, very important thing to mention is that unlike the PassKey or Ewin PassMe the SuperPass does not curve under the DS system. It sticks straight out rather than double back underneath to try and hide its bulk. This is certainly a positive because you can sit the DS down on a flat surface whereas you can’t with the PassKey or Ewin PassMe. Anyone who has ever played Meteos will know that being able to sit your DS on a flat surface while playing is a god-send and highly essential considering the touch screen playing style of the DS.
    The SuperPass has a nice fit with the DS and the game card fits into it just fine. There is one thing to note however, if you take out the SuperPass just make sure you actually press it in until you hear the definite ‘click’ before yanking it out. Sometimes you have to fiddle with it while putting it in and taking it out; you have to push it just that little bit more. Overall it fits snugly and is in no danger of getting in the way of your gaming pleasures. Sure it sticks out, but when the DS’s lid is open and you’re playing you don’t even notice it.

    Vince989's Opinion:

    Although many would be inclined to think that the SuperPass is something done dirt cheap, it actually isn't. It's got a good feel as far as the plastic goes, and the shape is quite small too. The price is also on-par with the competition, which is always nice. However, at the time of this writing, there is no SuperPass2 available, nor has it been announced.



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    With the release of the new firmware (1.52) and patching software (2.42), the SuperCard has truly expanded its horizons. With the new firmware, one is able to play DS games that boot instantly from the CF/SD card (instead of taking painstaking time to load into the SuperCard) and also people now have the ability to save their games on the CF/SD card just like any other GBA game.
    Make sure you download the correct software for whatever version of the SuperCard you are using (CF or SD). When you open up the software, simply add the .nds rom, then right click it and select properties. If you are greeted by a black box like I was, don’t despair, it’s just a simple glitch in the software (something to do with the Windows XP Silver theme). In both sections select the bottom option to enable running and saving from the CF/SD cart. Then select the ‘Out” button in the software to output the files. A .nds.dsq and .sav file is created. Simply drop these two files onto your CF/SD cart and your ready to play.
    With the SuperPass inserted, the DS will automatically boot to the SuperCard DS menu, where you can select which rom to play. One important thing to note is that unlike other ‘normal’ GBA flashcarts using NDSpatcher or LoadMe, the SuperCard has a multi-boot loader for DS games. So you can put on as many DS games as your CF/SD card can hold, which is certainly a nice feature.
    The SuperCard works fine with FlashMe as well, so you don’t even need to have the SuperPass inserted. However it’s a catch-22 situation because you need the SuperPass (or some other PassMe) to install FlashMe in the first place, so it’s up to your own individual tastes whether you want to go the extra step to install FlashMe, or just use the SuperPass.

    Vince989's Opinion:

    As for the SuperCard, it is also a truly great way of playing Nintendo DS games, especially with the newest firmware. While it was a chore to backup saves with the earlier versions, even though we had cory1492 to help us do it, this is something that is no longer necessary, as it is all handled by the SuperCard itself. Its compatibilty isn't the best on the market, but it is still very close up there, as only a few games don't work on it, besides those that don't work on any card (Pokemon Dash comes to mind here).


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    Now that you’ve heard what the SuperPass is and what it can do, you’ll be eager to know how well it performs. How well does the SuperCard play DS roms? Well, when I first got the SuperPass and put Advance Wars DS on my CF cart and booted it up, you could imagine I was pretty excited. It worked and it saved perfectly on the SuperCard. How about Nintendogs? It also worked and saved perfectly. There are various compatibility lists online, but if I could put a percentage on it I would say that roughly 85% of all DS roms work. There are still noticeable gaps in the compatibility list with games like Kirby’s Canvas Curse, Daigasso! Band Brothers and Splinter Cell not working, which is slightly irritating if you want play these specific games. The compatibility of the M3 and G6-Flash is certainly better, however the SuperCard makes for a very price friendly alternative. All your saves are automatically backed up onto the CF/SD card, so you have no worries of losing your saves. Unlike with GBA games, you do not need to press a hotkey combination to save your game, simply save your DS game like you would when playing the original game. The process is now automatic, which I’m particularly happy about. The multi-boot loader also works well, with the ability to have both GBA and DS roms on the SuperCard at the same time.
    The SuperCard is synonymous with having slowdowns when it comes to GBA games. I’m happy to report that I myself have not experienced many of these problems with DS roms. It is sometimes noticeable that a level will take a few more seconds to load or such, but I did not experience any slowdowns actually in-game. Granted I have not tried every DS rom, but from what I’ve encountered, the games that do work, work fine.
    I did notice however that my DS seemed to need recharging an awful lot more than usual. The SuperCard is certainly power hungry, and even more-so when running games directly from the CF/SD card. I found that after roughly 3 hours of playing a DS rom, my light would switch to red. Normally this would be fine, because there is never a time when I play my DS for over 3 hours without a power supply nearby. But if you travel a lot, you might want to keep the battery life factor in mind.

    Vince989's Opinion:

    As for performance, while accessing it directly from the SD/CF card, some games do suffer from slowdowns, but only a few recent ones did this, such as Metroid Prime Pinball and the Japanese Super Princess Peach. However, as long as the ROM is no bigger than 256Mbit (except Castlevania - Dawn of Sorrow, the only one which still works with only 256Mbit of data present), you can always make it load straight in the SuperCard's RAM, which fixes the problem. It does take some time to load it before the game, though, so I'd only recommend it for those games are slown down otherwise.


    I found the SuperPass + SuperCard combination a very effective mean of playing DS roms. It boasts many great features that elevate it above the ordinary GBA flashcart using NDSpatcher or LoadMe, such as a multi-boot loader and proper on cart save support (being able to backup your saves onto the computer as well!). Hopefully we can expect more software updates in the future allowing for better compatibility, but as it stands at the moment it is not so bad. While not offering the same amount of functionality that the M3 and G6-Flash are said to have, the SuperCard looks to be shaping into the ‘must-have’ cheaper alternative.


    Vince989's Opinion:

    It's a really great option for playing Nintendo DS games, as it is quite cheap to pick up, and doesn't require much to work; only a PassMe (any kind will work, as long as it works with your DS) which is worth around 20$ or simply a console with FlashMe installed, the SuperCard CF or SD which is around 50$, and a CF or SD card to go with, which prices vary greatly, but are still cheap for their storage too. I'd recommend it mostly since it's once again a great option, which really doesn't cost a lot and is having a great playability for its price.

    - Vince989


    + Cheaper alternative to the M3
    + Multi-boot loader
    + CF/SD card save support
    + Can boot roms directly (and instantly) from the CF/SD card
    + The SuperPass does not curve underneath the DS system (like the PassKey for the M3/G6 does, you can’t sit the unit down on a flat surface!!)

    - Not all DS roms work
    - Drains your battery rather quickly
    - Longer load times in-game (slowdowns)
    - The SuperPass is rather bulky


    As of 25th September 2007

    The SuperPass is now obsolete. If you still use a slot-2 flash card and have not installed flashme then you may want to check out the Superkey.



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