ABOUT TAITO F3
Taito F3 Package System (also known as Cybercore) was/is an arcade game system released by Taito in 1992. Some early games running on F3 hardware were released as standalone PCBs, but most complete F3 kits consist of a motherboard and pluggable game ROM carts, very much like NeoGeo or CPS2.
The problem with F3 system is that both motherboards and game carts are regioned and the regions do not interoperate: for example, you can not run Japanese cart on European motherboard and so on.
WE WANT TO ...
- Make a F3 motherboard to accept games from all regions
- Make a cartridge run in a different language (for example change a Japanese-language cart to display texts in English)
- Soldering iron
- EPROM eraser
- EPROM programmer
HOW TO DO IT
The only thing that prevents the motherboard from running games from a different regions are the connectors on the motherboard. If you disconnect a cartrige from the motherboard, you can see the exposed cart connectors - they contain "stoppers", and game cartridges from the same region have matching "holes". A cartridge from a different region has the "holes" in different place(s).
I used soldering iron to melt the "stoppers" away. Be careful not to overheat the connectors. If you overheat the connectors, you might damage the motherboard!
After you have "clean" connectors, your motherboard will accept a game from any region. But alas, it will run in the original region's language...so we'll fix that next:
CHANGING THE GAME LANGUAGE
Open the cartrige - turn it over and remove all the screws. There is one screw behind a silver taito sticker. If you remove it, you can no longer return the game for Taito to be fixed (that's what the text says on the cartridge), but well...who cares :)
After opening the cart, orient the exposed PCB like the picture right. Then, take out the rightmost eprom on the PCB.
Dump the rightmost eprom's contents with an eprom reader. The last byte of the rightmost eprom dictates in which language the game runs.
Value of 01 is Japanese.
Value of 02 is English.
Value of 03 is Europe.
Reprogram the eprom or use a new one, insert it to the PCB, close the cart case and you're done!
Note that the language patch works also on "cartless" F3 games, such as Light Bringer/Dungeon Magic, Liquid Kids/Mizubaku Adventure and RayForce/Gun Lock!
Update! When patching Pop'n Pop from Japanese to English, I noticed that its "rightmost rom" does not have the same strucure as other F3 games - in that case I had to reprogram the whole chip, not just one byte. Are there other F3 games like that ... I don't know.