Super Mario RPG on a PAL SNES

UPDATE – this might not be needed now thanks to ikari_01 with the NEW replacement lockout chip, the SuperCIC mod.

Super Mario RPG is a difficult game to get running on a PAL SNES.  There are meant to be 2 versions of it available, one will work on an PAL SNES with the lockout chip disabled, the other won’t.  But there’s no way of knowing which is which by looking at the cart.

A while ago Yod@ on the GamesX and rllmuk forums found a way around this, at the time I couldn’t find it documented elsewhere on the web, but Yod@ agreed to let me post this here too.  Here’s a copy of one of his posts explaining the process:

The mod involves lifting a pin of the SA1 chip located inside the Mario RPG cart, and either leaving it floating or supplying it with 5 Volts.

Note that even after the mod, it seems that the cart doesn’t work with most import adapter carts – I found that I had to plug it directly into the SNES.

If you have a PAL SNES and a US copy of the game, this means you’ll either need to insert the bare PCB (make sure you don’t put it in the wrong way round!), or widen your cartridge slot, or use it with the shell of the SNES removed, or else try and fit the game PCB into the shell of a PAL cartridge.

You’ll need a 3.8mm Gamebit in order to open the cartridge.  You’ll then need to remove the game PCB, and locate pin 127 of the SA1 chip.

To lift a pin of an IC, I normally use a sewing pin or needle – in this case I’d insert the pin between pin 127 and 126, apply the soldering iron for a few seconds, and then gently move the needle to the left in order to force pin 127 to lift.

It’s very easy to break the pin off, so be very careful. Once it’s lifted, it’s probably a good idea to put a small piece of tape underneath to insulate it from the other pins of the chip.

You’ll then need to try the game and see if it boots – if not, you’ll need solder a wire from pin 127 to a 5 Volt source – I used the positive side of the capacitor shown in the bottom-left hand corner of the picture.

And here’s his photos of it:

Picture courtesy of Yod@Picture courtesy of Yod@

Remember this information is provided by Yod@, I’ve just put a copy of it here to keep it alive.  I haven’t tried it but it’s reported as working.  Thanks Yod@!!  Here’s the original posts with the info in – 1 and 2.

I guess this will work with other SA1 carts too, such as some of the later Kirby games.

Close Up Photos

Whilst working an SA-1 cart, I thought I’d take some close up photos to confirm which is Leg 127,  some boards have pin 128 labelled, some don’t.  Here’s a couple of photo’s just to confirm which leg you are working with.  Upon testing continuity, on my NTSC cart Leg 127 is connected to Ground, so I guess switching it to 5v switches the carts region to PAL.

Some boards make it easy to see where Leg 127 is connected, if you have one like in the second photo then I guess you can cut the trace leading up to the leg.  If it’s like the first photo though, it disappears under the chip, so you’ll have to lift the leg.  I usuallly heat the base of the leg up and gently insert a scalpel blade between legs 126 and 127 and twist it, it pushes leg 127 sideways and off the pad it’s soldered onto.