I love a good RPG, especially the old ones on the Super Nintendo/Super Famicom, but unfortunately a lot of the better games were never released in English which makes playing these text heavy games rather difficult. There are fan translations available online, but a lot of these games use special enhancement chips that can’t easily be emulated. You can get flash carts that support these special chips, but as they are priced at upwards of $200/£150, it doesn’t really make sense to buy one just so that you can play a select few games. You can see a list of the SNES games which use enhancement chips here.

Japanese Star Ocean Cart

Star Ocean is one of the few games that can’t be played in English on an emulator due to the audio decompression chip used. Today I’ll be creating my own copy by following the guide over at MMMonkey’s website. I’ve tried to include as much detail and clarify things I thought were unclear where possible, but please leave feedback in the comments if there’s anything I missed. This mod uses a fairly standard list of components; the only items I didn’t already have were the EEPROM chip for the MaskROM and a Voltage Regulator. You can find most of them on eBay, but the MaskROM is slightly harder to get hold of – buyICNow.com has them at a decent price, and will program the chips for an extra $.50 each.

Components needed:

  1. English translated ROM of Star Ocean
  2. Software to split the ROM file
  3. Japanese copy of Star Ocean
  4. Small Gamebit Screwdriver
  5. 29L3211 EEPROM
  6. Pin to remove existing MaskROM
  7. 3.3v Voltage Regulator (SOT-223)
  8. 100nf capacitor
  9. Kynar wire
  10. (optional) glue gun/tape
  11. (optional) NTSC cartridge shell

Before going forward, please note that you should only be using this information to produce reproductions of Star Ocean for PERSONAL USE. This guide should NOT BE USED FOR COMMERICAL PURPOSES IN ANY WAY! A lot of people have been creating reproductions of expensive carts (e.g. Earthbound or Chrono Trigger) and then selling them as authentic on eBay for sky-high prices, so please be vigilant. Star Ocean doesn’t suffer from this problem to the same degree as there was never an official western release, but there are still a fair number of unscrupulous people making money from this.
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