Mandragore - can't get running...

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By wyrdwad

Paladin (814)

Аватар пользователя wyrdwad

07-02-2017, 09:07

Hey guys,

I recently won an eBay auction for the 2-cassette English release of "Mandragore," which I was kind of excited to check out after reading through the extensive story in its manual. I booted up my MSX while holding Shift to disable the floppy drive, then popped in the first cassette (the one labeled "Game") and typed bload"cas:",r as instructed, then started playing the tape. It printed FOUND:CAS on the screen, which was encouraging, but then about 5 seconds later, it stopped loading, and I discovered my system was completely frozen (which I can tell by pressing the Pause button on my keyboard; if the Pause light doesn't come on, then the system is frozen and needs to be reset or powered off).

I tried flipping the cassette to side B (since the instructions say the two sides of the Game tape are identical), but after undergoing the same process, I had the same result: the game froze my system only 5 or so seconds after it FOUND:CAS.

I'm assuming the issue is because I'm using a Japanese Panasonic FS-A1WX MSX2+ with only 64 KB RAM, and the game probably requires 128 KB RAM -- but I've seen no indication in the manual to suggest this, nor am I seeing any information online that points to this game requiring 128 KB to run (and most European cassette games don't; I've rarely had trouble running any of the tape games I own).

I was just wondering if anyone here is familiar with Mandragore and can give any suggestions of things to try (maybe cload, or load one of the sections from the second tape?), or if I'm basically boned and can never run this game on my system (or at least, can't run it on my system without a memory upgrade).

Any info would be appreciated!

Thanks!

-Tom

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By Wolverine_nl

Paragon (1052)

Аватар пользователя Wolverine_nl

07-02-2017, 09:25

Hi Tom,
According to this photo it is a 64K game, it is for MSX1, so no 128kb, they would never bring that to a MSX1 tape game. Plus, after a few seconds a tape won't load that much data to fill your 64K .
It could be that your MSX interprets a loaded instruction from the tape differently.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3134)

Аватар пользователя sd_snatcher

07-02-2017, 10:07

It's probably a bug in the game: it's very likely that it doesn't handle expanded slots.

Try to type the following workaround before loading the game:

POKE-1,0

By wyrdwad

Paladin (814)

Аватар пользователя wyrdwad

07-02-2017, 10:31

sd_snatcher wrote:

It's probably a bug in the game: it's very likely that it doesn't handle expanded slots.

Try to type the following workaround before loading the game:

POKE-1,0

Didn't seem to work, sadly -- it still behaved exactly the same, freezing my system after a very short time (it's actually closer to 10 seconds, but still, it happens VERY quickly!).

-Tom

By Wolverine_nl

Paragon (1052)

Аватар пользователя Wolverine_nl

07-02-2017, 10:43

did you try to check on the casseteplayer if the azimut is at it's best quality or removing the rem cable and manually press play after bloading the game helps? Maybe the problem is somewhere else?

By wyrdwad

Paladin (814)

Аватар пользователя wyrdwad

07-02-2017, 10:58

Wolverine_nl wrote:

did you try to check on the casseteplayer if the azimut is at it's best quality or removing the rem cable and manually press play after bloading the game helps? Maybe the problem is somewhere else?

TBH, my knowledge of the nitty-gritty aspects of tape gaming is pretty minimal -- I know enough to hold Shift when I boot the system, I know how to load tape games via load, bload, cload, and run (whatever the instructions for each individual game tell me to do), and I know how to save data to tape (I've done so with numerous games thus far, including King Kong 2, Metal Gear, and... erm... The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole), but beyond that, I don't know a whole lot about how anything works. I messed with the data volume setting when I first got my tape drive, but haven't touched it since, since I found a setting that works with the vast majority of cassette games I own -- and I've never disconnected the tape drive since initially hooking it up, as I figure if it works, I'd better leave it alone! Wink

There have been a handful of tape games I've purchased off of eBay this past year that haven't played -- most notably, Cluedo and Boardello, the former of which freezes my system after loading, and the latter of which stops loading with a tape error every time -- but I've purchased a LOT of tape games, since they tend to go for very little money in auction, and so far have had mostly very good luck getting them all to run.

Bearing all that in mind, I'm definitely willing to try different options to get this game running, but you might have to walk me through the process a little bit, since I'm not really sure what you're telling me here -- I don't know what azimut is, nor what a rem cable is, for example. Sorry to be such a dufus! Wink

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply, though!

-Tom

By Buleste

Master (158)

Аватар пользователя Buleste

07-02-2017, 11:47

How are you trying to get the tapes to play to your MSX?
What cables are you using?
What tape player are you using?
Have you tried cleaning the tape heads on the cassette recorder?

Here are instructions to adjust the azimuth.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhvqOtWwQ1E

By rderooy

Hero (601)

Аватар пользователя rderooy

07-02-2017, 11:58

I just tried it with the French version (don't have the English one) in OpenMSX and found;

Works:
- Toshiba HX-10 (European)
- National FS-1300 (Japanese MSX1)
- Philips NMS 8250

Does not work:
- Sony HB-F5 (Japanese MSX2)
- Sony HB-F9P (European MSX2)
- Sony HB-F1XD (Japanese MSX2)
- Panasonic FS-A1WX (Japanese MSX2+)
- Panasonic FS-A1WSX (Japanese MSX2+)

So no need to mess with your cassette player as it has nothing to do with it.

By Buleste

Master (158)

Аватар пользователя Buleste

07-02-2017, 12:00

rderooy wrote:

I just tried it with the French version (don't have the English one) in OpenMSX and found;

Works:
- Toshiba HX-10 (European)
- National FS-1300 (Japanese MSX1)
- Philips NMS 8250

Does not work:
- Sony HB-F1XD (Japanese MSX2)
- Panasonic FS-A1WX (Japanese MSX2+)
- Panasonic FS-A1WSX (Japanese MSX2+)

So no need to mess with your cassette player as it has nothing to do with it.

I found that the FA-A1WSX doesn't work with Mandragore (Fr) too but it reset on OpenMSX where as his version froze. Along with all the other issues he seems to have with cassettes it may well be worth his trying to clean and retry other games.

As there doesn't seem to be an English version on Cassette available it would also be nice if he could record the cassettes on his PC and post the .WAVs so that they can be converted to .CAS files for the community.

By rderooy

Hero (601)

Аватар пользователя rderooy

07-02-2017, 12:06

Yes, I noticed OpenMSX reboots, and does not hang. But I think it is the same effective problem.

I also tried the Sony HB-55P (European MSX1) and it also reboots, while the Sanyo MPC-100 (European MSX1) works fine.
So the game seems very finicky about the MSX it is run on.

By rderooy

Hero (601)

Аватар пользователя rderooy

07-02-2017, 13:46

You can get the game working in OpenMSX on one of the machines it otherwise does not work on by adding "-ext 64kram" to the parameters.

e.g.
openmsx -machine Panasonic_FS-A1WX -ext 64kram

The same will presumably work on a real MSX if you insert a RAM expansion in one of the primary slots.

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