[jazzy jazz music] [floppy drive sounds] Greetings and welcome to LGR Oddware! Where we’re taking a look
at hardware and software that is odd, forgotten, and obsolete. And this time around
we’ve got this right here the PC Action Replay from Datel for MS-DOS-based PCs from the early 90s. And yeah, this is a little different than the one I covered before that was just like a little
parallel board thingy and some software for Windows 95 this is not that. This is an actual straight up ISA Card that plugs into your computer and manipulates things
on a little deeper level and allows you to cheat at your games and get some save states and slow motion and all sorts of other little things can be manipulated using
a combination of the card and this weird little mouse-looking thing with buttons and switches and stuff. Yeah, what in the world. Let’s take a look at it! So, this is The Ultimate Game Buster the Datel PC Action Replay from late 1993 one of the original models
that sold for 70 pounds in the UK or $90 in the US. It’s an 8-bit ISA Card paired
with a little breakout box they called the Freezer Controller. Huge thanks to Brandon
for loaning me this one for Oddware because
these things have become exceptionally hard to find relative to its later console counterparts or even compared to the latest
PC Action Replay devices like the one I previously
covered on LGR Oddware. But that was a glorified trainer program with a copy protection dongle you plugged into a parallel port whereas this earlier model is a fully fledged PC expansion card for systems running at minimum a 286 processor in MS-DOS version 3.2. More Energy, More Levels,
More Power, More Lives! Action Replay gives you the power to bust your games wide open! Just imagine the power to freeze any program and take total control! Yeah, that certainly would
be a nice change of pace compared to the other PC models I’ve tried those didn’t exactly grant me phenomenal game busting powers so much as they flat-out didn’t work. But anyway, dude! If this does what it says it does like generate infinite cheats, take screenshots, freeze gameplay, enable slow motion,
monitor memory contents and scan for viruses in real time, that’d be pretty fantastic. If anything, the fact that
Datel Electronics themselves advertised it so heavily back in the day, seems to imply a certain
high level of confidence in the product, more so than the crappy parallel port models. This Action Replay received
several board revisions, software updates, box art changes and price drops over the years but the core functionality
remained the same: provide infinite cheat
codes through software and freeze games in
place using the paddle. That latter feature is one that I find highly intriguing since the way it’s
described makes it sound like a kind of save state function that you normally see on emulators. Yet this is an ISA card for MS-DOS PCs so having that kind of functionality through a hardware
add-on is wildly amusing assuming it actually works. Inside the box you get
the Action Replay software on a 3 1/2 inch double-density diskette I don’t know the exact
version of the software but the files are dated
to December of 1993. Then there’s the freezer controller, which looks kinda like a tiny serial mouse minus the ball underneath. The orange button is for activating the Action Replay software itself, allowing you to do
things like enter cheats and freeze whatever’s in memory and this little switch is
for activating slow motion. It connects to the Action Replay card using what appears to be a nine pin serial interface or at least it’s the same kind of D-sub connector on the end. However Datel repeatedly warned users not to plug serial devices into the card or plug the freezer into serial, so, yeah. As for the card itself, it’s a neat little 8-bit ISA card with a handful of Programmable
Array Logic chips, some static RAM, PLCC socketed ROM chip, along with a pin header
and set of DIP switches for the Action Replay’s
ROM address I/O port and IRQ settings. Finally there’s an impressive 50-page spiral-bound instruction manual something that reviewers
at the time criticized for being perhaps a bit too technical to the point of being confusing and yeah, I mean, this gets intense. Even the “quick installation
and setup” section consists of seven pages packed with text and it only gets more
convoluted from there with detailed appendices and things like hexadecimal notation and the basics of 20-bit memory addressing. Even the Q&A troubleshooting section is direct and to the
point with answers like You are making a mistake,
if you give the trainer one wrong piece of
information you could do a thousand passes and you would still not find the right code. Welp, that’s promising. On that note, let’s get the
Ultimate Game Buster installed and for that we’ll be using the venerable LGR Woodgrain 486. Just gonna drop it into a free ISA slot and that’s about it as I’ve already set the I/O port and IRQ address on the card so they won’t conflict with other devices then it is just a matter of
plugging in the freezer paddle again keeping in mind to
plug it into the 9-pin port and not the serial port by accident. And, yeah, that’s about it. Time to freeze and cheat our way to MS-DOS gaming victory. All right, now that we’ve
got the thing installed in the Woodgrain 486 it’s just a matter of getting the software put on the thing through the floppy disk and that is incredibly simple, just a setup program that
guides you through things mostly just making sure that it can see where the card is, where your mouse is, and, you know, addresses
and things like that. Yeah, as long as nothing is conflicting, and it knows where to put stuff on AUTOEXEC.BAT, you’re
ready to start cheatin’. And once the setup was configured and everything’s installed, we restart it and it loads the action
replay COM file here the control program, it
loads it in the memory as a terminate-and-stay-resident
piece of software so it’s always running in the background you can see there all the settings that it got from the setup program and now we can go into
the Action Replay folder and we can look at what’s in here. So it comes with a bunch
of different things, a bunch of pre-configured files and the COM file itself and all we have to do
now is just load a game and start messing around with our little thingy here.
[chuckle of silliness] So it comes with this program here PCMAN And uh [laughs] this is not
the PCMAN I was expecting it is a Pacman clone, but
it’s not the older one it is some other shareware
game I’d never heard of but yeah, anyway, it
mentions in the manual how to figure out this freezing stuff using PCMAN here as an example. So yeah, it’s this, by Simon Constable. Intriguing. Doesn’t appear to have any sound, but yeah, it is just a Pacman game and so as an example of what we can do with this little freezer button, let’s just press it in a spot here press the button, doink! And it takes us over into
the Action Replay menu here. Really it’s just a command line and you can type in all sorts of things it’s just way more advanced than the other PC Action Replays already I mean look at all this stuff. But yeah, we can go ahead
and enter the trainer and this is pretty awesome actually. So we can select the trainer type we can enter some parameters
if we already know them or we can load a parameter table. It does actually come with some already, we’re not gonna do that though. I’m just gonna show you how we can run a trainer, like
create our own parameters. So the trainer type, there’s
really only one that it can do through this particular
part of the program, lives or countable value. So entering a start value. This is the part of the memory that we’re gonna be looking for so right now in the
game we have three lives so we’re just gonna type in three and it’s gonna scan the current memory and see if it finds
anything in the program that we froze using
the little thingy here. It found 4,882 possibilities
and using this function we can just look at the first 10 but this is useless, I mean there’s way too many possibilities. 4,882, man. So we need to narrow that down. So we can exit back to the frozen program and since we’re looking to mess with lives let’s just lose one really quick so that takes us down to just two lives so there’s one and then one you don’t see ’cause you get yeah like an extra. So we got two lives left. Let’s go and park our
little man over here, press the button again, freeze it, and we’re back to the trainer [chuckling of endearment]
I love this process. So the original value is
three, now we have two and it found one location. That went from three to two
since we originally froze it and there you go, we’ve got just the one. This is the Action Replay
parameter, very similar to like where you’d see
in a GameShark code. So this is the code and the address and now it knows that so let’s go to enter parameters and then press “insert” and that inserts the
code that we just found created by looking at the memory and having the program
compare what it knows that’s it. So we can go back to the frozen program. And now, we should never
be able to lose our lives so yeah, look, it just goes right back to the full lives. Lose another one, goes right back. [laughs] So we just created the
infinite lives cheat for this PCMAN game and I can see why they included it because it is, as you can see, very simple to narrow things down. [laughs] and that’s all, man, I mean this is, that’s what this does. In theory this is what
the other Action Replays were supposed to be doing, but it just couldn’t
find the memory addresses for whatever reason. But yeah, I mean look at that, we can lose all the lives
we want, we never will. It’s just gonna keep on looping so you can play this game forever. But let’s not do that, let’s go into some of my other games that I have on here, and we can play some Duke Nukum 1 and see if maybe we can, I dunno, do the same thing. Here’s Duke Nukum, the first one. Spelt with a U, as it was for a time due to potential copyright issues. So yeah, just go into the game here, still have time to watch Oprah. And there we go. So at the moment, we’ve
got eight bars of health because we go full-health, baby, so let’s just, I dunno,
go into the trainer, doink and we can do this,
select the trainer type we’ll do the same thing
we we’re doing with PCMAN but we’re gonna be looking for eight, ’cause we get eight bars of health. And it will scan the memory and let’s see what we find. 8,357 possibilities, ergh. Yeah. So let’s exit to the program again and let us lose a life, or a health. Oh, that kinda hurt. So that’s that, we’re down to seven, doink now we’re gonna look for seven. And it found one. Wow, that was easier than I thought. Huh, okay. So we’ve got literally
just the one location address, parameter, whatever, so there’s that and that, awesome, go in here and insert, dink, dink, and this should be it, I guess. Now, probably have infinite health? [game bleeps] [laugh of satisfaction]
We do! Dude, that’s so cool! Ah dude, that works way better
than I thought it would. Holy crap. [PC speaker beeping] That’s interesting, so
it’s gonna keep it as seven no matter what. I’m assuming there’s a way
to modify that parameter so you can keep it at
eight no matter what, but whatever, the effect is the same. So if I get more health and then, yeah, then it just goes
right back to seven. I dunno, lucky number seven, always got seven health no matter what. [game beeps] That’s pretty darn cool man. So I can just stand on
these spikes forever. So, okay, so we can only
enter two digits at once that kind of limits things, we can’t necessarily alter like the score if we just go out of here we can maybe just look
at some other things let’s see, what can we do here? We can also… “MM”, that’s just monitor. Well, that doesn’t do anything. [keys clack] Memory monitor on, okay. So you have to know the
specific memory address [laughs] I see, what, okay. I can do this, on the other hand. Dump standard EGA/VGA screens to disk. Let’s just do… There you go. I’m assuming it’s gonna save this screen. All right, well let’s get
outta here and let’s try it. [startup chime] Hey. PCX, there it is, and there it is, that is really cool. All right, next order of business, how ’bout we try out one
of the cheat settings that it came with because
I mean it’s got a lot. In fact the Read Me in here set a program here we can
look at what it does come with Legend, Gods, Magic Pockets? Prince of Persia, Whizz
Kid, Pinball Dreams, Unlimited Balls. Crazy Cars Three, Star Control Two, Frontier Elite 2, Ooh. And PCMAN which we’ve already tried oh let’s see, it does say
it does work with Windows by running it in standard mode, huh. Okay, so we got Pinball Dreams going here, let’s try out one of these configuration cheat files that it actually came with. So that is the parameter that
it has for Unlimited Balls. Let’s try that. [keys clack] All right, we’ve got one
ball still of course, and let’s just get a bit of points and see what happens. [arcade music] Okay [laughs] I didn’t mean to do that
badly, but that works. All right we should
still have one ball left if the cheat was working, ah we do! Nice! Hey dude, this action
replay just straight out does the job. That’s awesome. At least with the games
I’m trying it with so far but I mean again, we went like 100% better than we did with those
other Action Replays GameSharks and stuff in the past for PC. let’s try Gods. [boppy beepy music] I just like this music [laughs]. So let’s get into the game, man, I haven’t played this for years in fact I haven’t played
the DOS version much at all. Mostly played this on Amiga. And yeah we have to do this every time in terms of telling it where the table is Because it’s just gonna be
looking in the directory that the game is playing from but yeah, should just be “Gods”. Yeah there we go. So I don’t know which one’s which, let’s have ’em all turned on, whatever. So, cool. It should be there. And now in theory, we
should be an invincible god. Which is great. [gentle explosion] Guess I shouldn’t… Okay well I am still getting hurt, and I lost a life [laugh]. Let’s try again. Okay, yep, I am dying. I was thinking maybe
it’ll just let me live, no, it will not. Even after hitting no lives left, huh. Well what the crap is that? [laughs] it is definitely affecting
something wrong there that high score table was borked. All right, so something
else I wanted to try on here is the SlowMo, or slow motion option which is this little switch on here it’s also configurable by
going in to the command thing but I’ve just got the
game Vet running here, and this runs way too
fast on a 66 Megahertz 46 really anything faster than
like a 16 Megahertz 386. So just shift into first. Oh my goodness, yeah it’s ridiculous. So if we engage the slow motion, [engine drones in slow motion] Ah, turn off the sound. Yeah, ah, I don’t think
this is doing anything. Hmm, maybe the system’s just too fast for it to do anything on that kinda… One percent, wait, one percent slowdown or one percent of the speed? [keys clack] that’s oddly stated. 99%, so that should be extremely slow if that is how it works. Okay, that’s definitely doing something so it’s backwards from like how it is using the program SlowMo or MoSlow in DOS and it’s not working very well in fact it’s just very choppy may as well just use the turbo buttons on the computer, yeah
see here is turbo engaged on the 46, like the actual hardware itself [laughs] this is what it should be doing it is without turbo, and now full speed
again, running over nuns, and then back on turbo, without turbo, yeah, the actual turbo switch, using something else makes more sense than the little switch on here, so. Okay well, that doesn’t work very great but it does work [laughs]. How ’bout this virus scan,
what the hell is that… Okay, it’s an actual virus scanner. Why not? Value for your money I s’pose, don’t know what it’s using for it’s database of viruses, but cool. Here’s one I was wanting to try, freezing the memory, that’s freeze the entire contents of memory to disk. Kinda sounds like a
save state type of thing so looks like we can use this
to just save it to a file. Intriguing. So I’ve got Crystal Caves
running in the background here let’s see if it’ll do that. So this is what I have running
in Crystal Caves right here just the very beginning
of the first level, the first episode. Well, first level, depending
on which level you choose but first one I normally choose. And we’ll just shoot the air and die. [laughs] Pouf, I am dead. So yeah, lost a life, totally dead. So let’s see if we can un-freeze that and just go right back to where we were. I believe that’s how this works. So yeah, “unfrz cc” Actually it’ll be C-A replay CC something, then this, unfreezing from this will overwrite the current
contents of RAM, yes. Go ahead, whoa. [laughs] How scary. Oh, dude! Totally works! Ah, that is rad, you got save states [laughs] on a real DOS computer. Dude, that is cool, ah that is cool. This device is so cool! Dude, I love the fact
that this actually works exactly what you want from Oddware, it is odd, and it’s obscure, and obsolete and all these things, but man, it works and it
is actually functional for something that is 30 years old, 25 years old, whatever, you
know, old hardware for PCs. [keys clack] Ah, look at all these things, yeah, dude, there’s just so much you
can do with this card, wow, yeah, this is great. I am so glad we got to experience this especially with how badly
the other Action Replays ended up working out, oh man. Well, that’s about it for
the Ultimate Game Buster here at least for this video, yeah
this is mighty impressive, this PC Action Replay
works so much better than the other PC Action Replay
that I looked at before, I mean, that didn’t have this
kind of a hardware solution it had a parallel port dongle,
but that was really just for copy protection as far as I could tell and the software wasn’t
nearly as straightforward as the trainer this comes with and this just gives you way more options in terms of generating your own cheats and sniffing through memory and messing around with
dumping what’s in the memory and opening it back up again, like there’s so many things that you could potentially do with this and that is just really cool. So thank you very much again to Brandon for sending this my way so I could look at it here
with you on LGR Oddware, maybe I can get another one
of these, like for myself in the future, that’d be really cool but I’m just happy I got the opportunity to mess around with this one. So yeah, thanks for watching. And if you like this, then why
not check out that other one that I covered in the past,
or the GameShark variant neither one of ’em worked, spoiler alert, but eh, I tried. And if you like to see me
trying with odd hardware and software than this is the show for you and there are new videos
of all kinds going up each week here on LGR and once again, thank you for watching.