paraMSX 0.46b

by MSX Resource Center on 21-04-2005, 00:00

When looking at the paraMSX website you'd think version 0.42 was the latest version released. Regular visitors of the MRC already know the paraMSX website contains an open dir where more recent versions of this Korean MSX emulator can be found, the most recent of which is paraMSX 0.46b. This is the version we are putting to the test right here.  

 

paraMSX is the only MSX emulator in our entire comparison that manages to score exactly 1000 points in the VDP Benchmark, just like a real MSX2. The interface of paraMSX consists out of a launcher. Before you start the actual emulation you can select the MSX computer you'd like to use, which media you want to run and alter some settings related to graphics and music. Once the emulation has started, there are only a few things that can be changed. During the emulation, a cool statusbar appears on the left side of the screen. It gives an overview of the keys that can be used during emulation, information on the settings the emulator is currently using and a spectrum analyzer of the PSG and FM-PAC.  

 

paraMSX does not support disk changes during emulation, but it does support 'multidisks'. This are large .DSK files which contain two or more disk images in one file. During emulation the different disks within this multidisk can be selected. This does make it possible to change disks during emulation, but there is a limitation: you need to know exactly which disks you want to emulate before you actually start the emulator. Apart from that, multidisks are not very popular. In most cases you'll have to make a multidisk-image yourself.  

 

Accuracy

 

paraMSX performs well above average when it comes to MSX2 accuracy. There are some tests that give paraMSX some serious trouble, like Sphere, which shows a strange Infinite logo and then hangs, Relax, which shows a black screen with mostly ghost-sprites instead of the Squeek demo and then hangs when the Relax logo is to appear, and Vscreen, in which the menu texts are invisible and only the top-screen backgrounds are visible during the game. More difficult tests like Maggoo's Vertical Sync scroller (the entire screen scrolls just like a normal vertical scroller) and Unknown reality (which hangs before the JUMP demo) give the emulator a hard time as ell. The only tests in which we could not find any glitches at all were Avaakkus, Turnix and the Woei demo. All other tests showed some minor glitches.  

 

Music

 

paraMSX supports PSG, SCC, MSX-MUSIC and MSX-AUDIO. The PSG emulation is below average, as it only supports square waves and noise. Songs that use 'sawtooths' or PSG samples do not sound as they should at all. When it comes to SCC and MSX-MUSIC the sound quality is decent enough to give the right atmosphere, but in many cases the emulator sounds a lot different than the real thing. The best part of the emulator is its recently introduced MSX-AUDIO emulation, which gets the job done in most cases.  

 

Conclusion

 

paraMSX is a decent, easy to use MSX emulator with enough accuracy and features to keep the average emulator user more than satisfied. The launcher and the below-average quality of music emulation are its weak spots. There are emulators which are a lot more accurate and feature-rich, but if you for whatever reason did not feel comfortable using those, paraMSX is certainly worth having a look at.  

 

Information chart

MSX2 CPU Benchmark:         1026
MSX2 VDP Benchmark:         1000
turboR CPU Benchmark:       N/A
turboR VDP Benchmark:       N/A
MSX1/2 accuracy score:      63.80%
turboR accuracy score:      00.00%
Music quality score:        36.70%
Usability & Features score: 52.90%
CPU load MSX2 idle:         ~ 20.00%
CPU load turboR idle:       N/A
MRC EmuRank:                47.18%
Emulator interface:         GUI
Save-states:                yes
Screenshots:                no
Joystick support:           yes
Mouse support:              no
Printer support:            no
Real disk support:          yes
Multi-disk support:         yes
Change disk:                no
Dir as disk:                no
MSX1 palette:               no
Image enhancements:         no
Fullscreen:                 yes

paraMSX website: http://my.dreamwiz.com/sharksym/

 

To see how paraMSX compares to other emulators, check out the MRC EmuRank chart.