Read Part 2 if you haven't already...
Sometime in 1994, The PC Engine released their trump card to save their dying console, The Arcade Card. It had 17.5 MBits of RAM, It was powerful and could make it the most powerful 8 bit console ever. It offered polygon shading in some games and great graphics too, There was the Arcade Card Pro which can give the classic PC Engine the power it needs for bigger games. There was also the Arcade Card Duo, which gave the extra 16 MBits to the Duo's built in 1.5 MBits. But it never caught on for reason's we'll get into later.
But just in time for the 1994 Christmas season, NEC Came in the 32/64 bit generation with the PC-FX. It had a 32 bit Processor, a 2X CD-ROM Drive, 2MB Main RAM, 1MB Shared RAM, 256KB VRAM, 1MB OS RAM, 256KB CD Buffer, and 32KB Back-up RAM. As far as Video goes 16,777,216 24 Bit Colors, a 240p or 480i Resolution, 6 Background Layers, 2 Sprite Layers, 1 Motion Decoder Layer, and Options for Composite or S Video but no RGB. In the sound area, it had a 16 bit stereo, 2 ADPCM Channels, 6 5-bit Sample Channels, and 2 RCA audio out cables.
The PC FX had the perfect controller for fighting games, but didn't have a huge fighting game library, let alone a huge 2 player game selection despite that second controller port, it did have a lot of RPGs, Dating Sims, and Gal Games. It had the perfect controller for those games, a mouse.
If you wanted to play games for the system on your PC-9821, You could connect one of these and play and develop games for the system.
GAMES OF THE ERA:
Neo Geo, Neo Geo, Four bright buttons and 2 joysticks, Neo Geo, Neo Geo, Now on PC Engine Via arcade card, Neo Geo, Neo Geo, Four bright buttons and 2 joysticks, Neo Geo, Neo Geo, With Graphics that rival the Neo Geo Ports!!!!
Not all games that supported the Arcade Card Required it, games like Popful Mail and 3x3 Eyes had FMVs Enhanced when the Arcade Card is used rather than the Super CD-ROM²...
Many of the games had a huge language barrier, but here are a couple rarities that anyone can enjoy regardless if they know Japanese....
Zenki FX, A beat 'em up with impressive FMVs, The System may've not been known for it's graphics or 3D Capabilities (or lack there of), but it had some great FMVs for the time.
Zeroigar, A fun Shmup with Mechs, Military, and MACHONESS!!!
THE END OF THE LINE'S LIFE:
The PC Engine Aracde Card was too expensive to attract the common consumer and it was just to weak to develop cutting edge games for. Keep in mind that PS1 and the Saturn just came out. The PC-FX had impressive FMVs, but no 3D Compatibility. There were rumors of a 3D Card and even a US Release, but The PS1, Saturn, and N64 reigned supreme. So gamers didn't want FMVs that much anymore. However games were developed for the Super CD-ROM² until 1999, giving the PC Engine one of the longest console lifespans this side of the PS2, Neo Geo, and others.
But How Can I Experience The System For Myself?
1) Buying the system for yourself, which is extremely risky since they went up in price since in addition to only being super popular in Japan, it's a 16 bit Era console, so (among other factors) the console and games don't all work anymore. or you could 2) use an Emulator (with it's own set of Factors, so it's your call).
1) Buy it, it may be a little expensive, but from Japan only consoles this old, it's to be expected. and that's the only really good option, since there's no must download PC-FX Emulator at the moment. Yet There's a Wii U Emulator, Yeah...
That puts an end to PC-Engine Month. Now it's back to Episodic Installments for a while.
CASE IN POINT: NEXT TIME:
Bonus Points if you can figure out what this picture means?
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