Features Sega Gear

Sega Gear: MD-Pro Flash Card

After I purchased the Mega Cart, I came across this great accessory for the Mega Drive. I must have been sleeping under a rock for a few years, because that’s the amount of time the product has been out. Why did I bought another flash card for the Mega Drive? Simply because it has a SRAM save function through a CR2032 battery. Thanks to that, I thought I could patch some Japanese ROMs with English fan translations and play them on my Mega Drive. It was the original Mega Drive experience I was after, which cannot be achieved at my computer with its screen, speakers and keyboard.

Unlike last time, I will not write a complete guide on how to use the product here. Tototek has a guide of their own, which can be found here. I will do some brief explaining on how to do the most important things though. Much of what I say here will probably already be mentioned at Tototek’s website, but for the sake of convenience it would better to have it here too.

Selecting Product Version

There are several kinds of packages of the MD-Pro you can choose from. I will list them here and give my personal comments on which one should be bought or not. Note that shipping and handling are not included in the prices. I paid $4.60 for the first option mentioned below. I live in Sweden and they shipped from Hong Kong. I took the slowest and cheapest shipping method of a few possible, but it arrived fast anyway.

MD-PRO 32M (Card only) – $55

I bought this one. I didn’t see any need for a case because I have quite a few crappy loose carts at home, so I just used my Gamebit 4.5 mm to insert the flash card into a long-borrowed defunct Home Alone cartridge’s case. EA games use regular screws, so if you don’t have a Gamebit that might be the solution. I didn’t need the adaptor, because I got one when I bought the Mega Cart, also by Tototek. I chose the 32M version because no games I want to flash uses more than 32 MEGA POWER.

MD-PRO 32M (Card only) with case – $60

Same as above, except that you pay a whopping five dollars extra for a plastic case. It is quite expensive, so I would recommend you to use the case of your spare Panorama Cotton instead.

MD-PRO 32M flash Card kit – $70

If you exclude the case and add another fifteen dollars, you get the adaptor to connect the flash card to the computer. You will also need two cables, one for the printer port and one for the USB port. Those can be bought cheap in a regular computer store, and also be added into this package for $5.

MD-PRO 32M flash Card kit with case – $75

Same as above, but this one adds the case again, and it STILL costs five dollars extra.

MD-PRO 64M Plus (Card only) kit – $85

For another thirty dollars extra to the 32M flash card price, you get the 64M version. It is probably for people who want to flash lots of games at the same time, especially 32X games which usually are bigger than Mega Drive games. There is only one Mega Drive game that is bigger than 32 MEGA POWER, and that is Super Street Fighter II at 40 MEGA POWER. So if you have that game and no problem with flashing a lot, the 64M version is not for you. I don’t know how much MEGA POWER the biggest 32X game has, but it doesn’t matter when you can probably buy it very cheap.

MD-PRO 64M Plus (Card only) with case – $90

Add five dollars and you get the 64M version with a case.

MD-PRO 64M flash Card kit – $100

No case, but you get the adaptor to connect to the computer, which you will need along with two cables which are an additional five dollars.

MD-PRO 64M flash Card kit with case – $105

Same as above, except you get the case this time. This is the most expensive kit. 64M Flash card with case and adaptor for $105, $110 with the cables. Then there is the shipping, which will probably be quite high for this kit, unless you happen to live in Hong Kong.

The flash card works on any Mega Drive/Genesis from around the world, according to the site. It works on my Nomad, and should also work on the Multimega, Wondermega and other ultr@ r@re variations of the console, simply because it is only a flash card and makes no use of CD BIOS like the Mega Cart does. The 64M version may stock up to thirty-one games, and the 32M version can stock up to fifteen. I don’t know many games that are less than 2 MEGA POWER, but if your dream is to have fifteen Flickies and sixteen Street Fuckers on a single cartridge, here is your chance! The 64M version can have 40 MEGA POWER games and the 32M can have 32 MEGA POWER games.

Installing the Kit to Your Computer

To flash ROMs to play on your Mega Drive, you will need the following:

  • The flash card.
  • The adaptor where you insert the cartridge.
  • The USB cable. Now I’ve learned that the USB port output must be 5V, otherwise the card will be damaged. I didn’t know that when using my Mega Cart, so I am glad my USB port output actually is 5V. Insert the cable into the adaptor and into your computer. It is the power source of the kit.
  • The EPP printer cable. Insert this into the cartridge and your computer’s EPP port. It links the computer software with the flash card together with the adaptor.
  • Dream Writer program for the Genesis/Mega Drive. Available at Tototek’s site. Make sure you download the latest version and not 1.1 like I did. It works with all Windows versions down to ’95. If you have a Mac, I don’t feel sorry for you.

Flashing Games and Using Saves

When you have installed the whole kit and opened the program, push the switch to “on” mode on your adaptor, and the program should recognize the flash card. Then you just pick your games from a folder (you can configure a folder to be your standard for ROMs) and press the upper-left button (cartridge and blue arrow) to flash. If you want to use saves, check region or use Game Genie cheats, double click on the names of the games before you flash.

The most interesting function is the S-RAM save, which may hold the saves of up to four different games at the same time. To use the save function, double click on the game you want to flash, select ENABLE (important!) and the place to save the game. Somehow, the save function only worked if I flashed more than one game to the cartridge. Just so you know. The saves can then be stored on a computer and read back to the flash card again, but only the save(s) from one game at a time. You use the icons with “RAM” and blue arrows to do this. Remember, if you have made two saves at for example the first slot, you can’t put them back on the flash card later at the same time.

If you are afraid to use your original software too much and/or of battery death, this could be the option to keep the games in top notch condition forever and at the same time “use” them. It has been reported on the forum that the save function doesn’t work with all games. Generally speaking, it doesn’t really matter since there is always the real software available. I bought this to play translated ROMs on real hardware, and you will see what games that saves with MD-Pro in our feature of fan-translated games. If the battery dies someday, you can probably replace it with a new CR2032. I’ve done it with a Warriors of the Eternal Sun cartridge, which was very easy and worked flawlessly. The MD-Pro is eternal, Swedish marriages aren’t!

Using Game Genie Codes

When you have chosen the games you want to flash to your card, you double click on their names to get the configuration menu up. Yes, DOUBLE CLICK – people tend to forget that, not only me. Then you insert the codes there. Tototek has a HUGE archive of Game Genie codes for you here. And there are quite a few here as well (maybe they are mostly the same, but what the heck).

The good thing about the MD-Pro’s Game Genie code function is that you can use many more codes than the actual Game Genie itself can use! That’s like making better arcade ports for the Saturn than Sega. The bad thing is that you still can’t use the save function of the games. That really sucks, but there is probably not much you can do about it anyway. So you’ll still just have to go to the dungeon and level up in RPGs, you lazy scum. I have done some testing here, using Tototek’s codes. The results vary per game.

Streets of Rage 2 with eight codes, everyone of them worked.

  • A39A-BA6C Start on stage four
  • V30A-BEB6 Player one starts with seven lives
  • V30A-BEGL + V45A-BEAC Player two starts with seven lives
  • PBFA-AAG6 Apple pick up restores all energy
  • ABFT-AAAT Cash bag worth nothing
  • AK1A-AAAE Player one starts with one continue instead of two
  • NM6T-AAF0 Choose up to ninety-nine lives on options screen

Hellfire with three codes. Only the second worked. Also did it with a real Game Genie, with the same result. So don’t blame me or the MD-Pro – blame the codes!

  • SEXA-BATW First power up item gives max power- some things can’t be destroyed!
  • BALA-BA9A Start with eight missiles
  • NNRA-AABR Start with ninety-nine lives

Tried again with three new codes. None of them worked. The only thing that happened was that all foreground objects expect from your ship disappeared.

  • ATZA-AA9R Infinite Hellfire(tm) missiles
  • ATYA-AA4J Infinite lives
  • SEXA-BNTW First power up item worth more

Dragon’s Fury with five codes. All of them worked.

  • NTCT-BA3W Start with one hundred balls
  • NNCT-AAEN Start with 9,900 bonus points
  • BECT-AAE0 Start with bonus multiplier at nine
  • AVPA-AA8L Bonus points never reset when bonus is collected
  • AVPA-AA8Y Bonus multiplier never resets when bonus is collected

Phantasy Star II with three codes. I tried this with both the MD-Pro and my actual copies of the Game Genie and Phantasy Star II. The result was the same for both. The codes in battle made the characters invincible, and all of a sudden they are three Rolfs (Rolves?), which stay in map mode. The one hit death code didn’t work. The other code worked.

  • BXJA-AA26 Everything is free
  • CJZT-AA2N No HP taken off from physical strikes
  • REYA-A6TY All enemies die in one strike

It seems like the MD-Pro handles the Game Genie function just as good as the cartridge itself, and the result is therefore not always perfect. I may have done something wrong, but if one method gives perfect results for one game and fails for another, I see no reason to believe so. This function is a nice extra, but not very useful to me, as I dislike cheating in games. I have the original Game Genie as an extender to play Japanese games on my Nomad. It is actually possible to do the same thing with the MD-Pro, but then I would have to flash. You can also use the Game Genie codes to bypass the region locks of games, which are mentioned Locked Out: Importing Made Easy feature.

Comparison/Contrast with the Mega Cart

One questions people may ask if they already have this flash card or the Mega Cart is whether or not they should buy the other one? There are quite a few differences between them, so I will list them here and comment them shortly, after similarities.

Similarities: Both flash Mega Drive/Genesis and 32X games, 24M or 32/64M. They use the same cables and adaptor, but individual programs. They have both forums at Tototek’s website, where Tomy is responsible for the MD-Pro and Fonzie for the Mega Cart when it comes to customer support.

The price: MD-Pro 32M is about $10 dollars cheaper shipped than the Mega Cart if bought bare. 64M version is about $20 more expensive. The Mega Cart always comes with a nicely designed case and box and help disc though. Adaptor and cables cost about the same for both, since it is the same factory that produces these products.

Mega CD compatibility for the Mega Cart: The Mega Cart is mainly an accessory for the Mega CD, with its save feature for CD games and ability to bypass the region locks. It can also flash ROMs from burned discs.

Higher Mega Drive compatibility for MD-Pro: On the other hand, MD-Pro can use the S-RAM save of Mega Drive games, while Mega Cart cannot. Mega Cart flashes only .bin files, while MD-Pro also flashes .smd and mgd2 files. MD-Pro can use Game Genie codes, while Mega Cart cannot. MD-Pro flashes up to 32 MEGA POWER files on the 32M version and 40 MEGA POWER files on the 64M version. Mega Cart flashes 24 MEGA POWER files, and that is also the maximum amount of storage it has.

The reason why I bought both is because they have unique abilities I must have for my import needs. As an European player, the Mega Cart helps me play American CD games and the MD-Pro helps me play translated Japanese ROMs on my Mega Drive. If you are a Mega CD player and aren’t interested in flashing, Mega Cart is your choice. But for one who likes flashing, experimenting with Game Genie codes and translated ROMs would prefer MD-Pro. There is plenty of unique gaming fun to have with both of them, so show your support and buy one of each, so we will surely have even better products from Tototek and Evermind in the future.

Closing Comments

It wasn’t nearly as hard to do all the research and testing for writing this feature as it was with the Mega Cart one. That is probably because my intelligence increased by several MEGA POWER when I wrote the aforementioned piece, and also because there actually is an instructing manual available for this product. The program, Dream Writer, may be hard to understand at times with all the data code letters, error messages and what not, but it almost always work fine anyway.

It is kind of hard to rate a product which I bought to use only one of its features. It was the same deal with the Mega Cart, but after testing all the functions, it is really fun to do some experimenting and flashing with unlicensed games. Still, as said before, the CR2032 battery was the deal for me, and I have had many hours of fun with Monster World IV and King Colossus. I expect to have many more as there are many translations I haven’t tried yet, and more are coming regularly. But there is still probably something for everyone to find useful in this product. Flashing, backing up, saving, the codes – the product is really versatile. It is also good that it is available in two different editions. The 64M version would have been a little bit too expensive and unnecessary to me. 64 MEGA POWER will only be a waste, just look at the Nintendo 64.

On the downside, I must say that there is some questionable material on the cartridge when it is sold. I think it is really inappropriate, but maybe it isn’t illegal in Hong Kong where the products are made and shipped from. I don’t blame the Game Genie function though, since it just alters the software code in a certain way that also the Pro Action Replay devices later used. Since there was no label on the case or any box to get, I chose the bare PCB. It would have been nice if it had come with a design similar to the Mega Cart, as it would have made it look more professional. I would also have liked a manual, but I forgive that when there is the online guide available. Now we just wait to see what Tototek can come up with in the future. A FM converter for the western Sega Master System? A “Mega Game Gear” on the 32X? I’m sure we’ll get something if we show our support!

To sum it up: A great device that many Mega Drive players can find useful in some way. Maybe not necessary for you if you already have the Mega Cart, but for me the CR2032 battery was enough to make this one a must buy.

Special thanks: To Tomy at Tototek for making such an awesome product!


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