|Review by desertboy|
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::For anyone reading this on the emulation64 website check this thread
::for the pics
You've probably heard there's an N64 emulator for the xbox in fact there's been 5 attempts at porting an N64 emulator but Surreal64 has been the first one to do it credibly.
1st A little history of N64 emulation on the xbox
Daedalus port by StrmnNrmn (No sound, crashed constantly but was ported in a couple of days and never finished)
Daedalus port by Hikaru (No sound, crashed a lot, only really played mario64 & mario kart)
PJ64-x by Lantus this was the emulator that caused all the controversy with the $2000+ cash prize, the author felt the need to keep his identity secret (Even though he was well respected in the xbox scene) which he then divided the prize money between a debug xbox for himself, cash for Rice & a donation to emulation64.) this was the first emulator to have sound and ran quite a few games close to perfect and a lot more with glitch's.
Ultraxle by oDD (A regular in these forums at one time) which came out a few days after pj64-x. It was a great port of ultrahle which ran all the games ultrahle did but unfortunatly was prone to random crashes.
and that brings us to Surreal64 a port of 1964,pj64 & ultrahle by oDD & Lantus. oDD ported 1964 & ultrahle, Lantus ported pj64 & the plugins.
Now the history lessons over I guess you all want to know the juicy stuff like how well does it run? What plugins have been ported? Can it load those big roms?
First the plugins
Audio Azimer's HLE & PJ64RSP
Graphics Rice's 5.0.1d
Input there own one I guess it doesn't say
I've played with Rice's plugin on my PC with varying results (As I'm sure most of you have) but I could never get the sort of results that Rice gets (Understandable) but this port makes Rice's plugin sing and it sounds beautiful. The bleed problem that long haunted Rice's plugin is almost non existent only pilotwings had this problem and that was much better than before.
How well does it run?
Very good here's a list of games I would consider to be close to perfect (In many cases it really is almost perfect, much closer than I've ever seen a pc come even with my adaptoid)
All Star Tennis '99
Diddy Kong Racing
Earthworm Jim 3D
Gex 64: Enter The Gecko
Go by train (Densha De Go) If only I could hook my controller up.
Jet Force Gemini
Mario Kart 64
Mario Party 1, 2 & 3
Super Mario 64
Zelda Ocarina of time (Make sure you use Usa version 1.0)
They all played with either no issues or slight (Zelda's shadow looks funny when he's on a bridge, mario party some stars are black instead of gold)
All the games in my list I played for over an hour each my 2 long term studies Mario Party 3 and Zelda have had considerably more play.
I've won 3 mario party matches (Lost 3 as well) and had 2 crashes during gameplay which isn't bad at all.
Zelda my long term test I've just completed the Water Temple. (Just before you get the Lens of Truth which should be interesting) it hasn't crashed a single time that's 30+hours of playing Ocarina of time without a single crash I think that's probably better than my N64.
There were plenty of games that ran fine but had issues with Rice's plugin
CBFD (plays very good but has texture issues related to 5.0.1d)
Mario Golf (Usual plugin problems)
Mario Tennis (plays perfect but has the usual framebuffer problems, 5.3.0 cures a lot of these problems so I await the update with bated breath)
Pilotwings (Which has issues with everyone's plugin)
Sin & Punishment (Some levels look funny but I still managed to complete it with great enjoyment)
Wipeout (Looks perfect but runs at 200FPS making it far too fast)
There are a few games though that cause problems
Resident Evil 2 (doesn't it always cause problems it doesn't even load here)
Perfect Dark (It's just too slow, with 128meg xbox (They're debug xbox's or ones people have soldered extra memory chips into) it runs fine but 64meg standard xbox just doesn't have enough ram for a decent enough sized dynrec.
Goldeneye (It runs too slow on 1964 or PJ64 and it just feels wrong to me in ultrahle)
for an idea on compatibility although often while the (E) & (J) rom don't work the (U) will or vice versa so take that list with a pinch of salt.
Features of the emulator
5 save states per rom, mempak and rumble pack support, support for the analogue sticks and 4 pads.
EDIT: Now at home I can finish it on an operating system that actually works.
If you push the right stick down it brings up the savestate menu which also has debug info which tells you FPS & memory left.
It should be noted that the emulator uses virtual memory to handle the roms (It's set to only have 4 meg of rom in ram at once) it doesn't seem to cause any problems with the majority of games but it might well cause the occasional pause I haven't noticed it.
Your limited to what settings you can play with you can choose which audio plugin Azimer or PJ64RSP and you can play around with the memory settings. Increase/decrease the dynrec and set maximum video memory and the rom paging size (How much of the rom is in memory at one time). The debug screen which tells you how much ram is free well if you've got some free ram and the games a bit slow increase the dynrec.
I found that most games play fine on standard settings but Carmeggedon ran a lot better with 12meg dynrec for 1964. Also it's worth noting that Zelda runs around 20FPS which seems to around what it ran on the N64 yet emulators normally tell you the VI not the real framerate so don't be surprised when you see your favourite N64 games didn't run at as high a framerate as your first thought.
I've just got to dig my camera out and I'll snap a few more screenshots and add them.
All games were tested in 1964, except the ones that didn't work for any reason other than graphics plugin in which case they were tested in PJ64 as well. If it works on ultrahle then I tried in the xbox port.
the emulator scores a whacking 9/10 the most impressive emulator for the xbox, all that's left really is Rice plugin updates (Maybe a glide64 port with a glide wrapper) and update 1964 core to .99 when it becomes available. Which might well bring those few games that are too slow into the playable arena.
A big thank you to Lantus, oDD, Rice, Schibo, Azimer, Jabo & all the others I forgot.
Quick update Lens of Truth works fine and I'm almost through the Shadow Temple by tomorrow I should have it licked.
If anyone wants screenshots of a particular game, ask and I'll see what I can do. I can only use the digicam to get screenshots as you need the XDK (Xbox dev kit) to get direct screenshots which I don't have.