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Multi-cart reviews - TI 99/4A

Posted by RickR , 27 April 2015 · 2,168 views

Hi everyone. How do you all feel about multi-carts?

My thoughts are that they are a really convenient way to enjoy your classic gaming consoles, and experience the games the best way -- on REAL hardware.

These things come in a variety of formats. The very best have an SD card slot that allow you to place the entire library of games on a single memory card, and then enjoy the games via a menu driven interface. Other types include a set/built-in group of games on a cartridge, games selectable by DIP switch, or emulators for disk drives.

I thought I'd write up some quickie reviews of the multi-carts I own. Ask questions please! Let's start with the system I currently have out: The TI 99/4A.


TI 99/4A Multi-Cart (2048k Games)
Pros:
  • Nice menu interface
  • Lots of games
  • Low price
Cons:
  • Requires 32k memory upgrade
  • Not all games included
Here are some pictures of my console, and the multi-cart. I have the speech module attached. There are several voice games on this compilation that do actually work with the speech unit -- very cool! I have the stainless model of the TI, which always reminds me of a DeLorean. I'd say this is one sweet looking computer.
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The cart is made by a user on Atari Age. I can provide his name to you if anyone is interested. It's a really nice cartridge -- looks professional in all regards. Even the label looks TI authentic.

The one thing about this cart that is kind of quirky is that your TI must have a 32k memory upgrade. That can take several forms. The big giant PEB disk box has 32k expansion, or there are new fangled disk emulation devices that also include the upgrade. Mine actually has 32k built onto the computer motherboard -- which is a really nice setup provided by another user on Atari Age. I will say, both guys are really nice and a pleasure to buy from. You can tell they love the TI platform.

So plug it in, and you get a nice menu screen like this. I won't include them all. There are 8 screens on the menu with 16 games per screen. I think right around 120 games! Wow. All of the Atarisoft games are included. Many of the best games I know of are here. The only one I noticed as absent is a speech enhanced game named "Alpiner". But that's OK, I have a real cartridge of that one.
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Games on the TI are hit and miss. The system itself has really good graphics for the era. I'd say C64 equivalent. The sound is just OK. TI made some pretty lame games -- lots of simple games that don't push the envelope in any way. With the notable exception of Parsec, which is unbelievable. It's a side scrolling shooter...kind of a slower clone of Vanguard. Hi-res graphics and speech make this a fantastic game. TI Invaders is a really good Space Invaders clone.

The third party games really shine on this system. Every single Atarisoft game is beyond excellent. Take a look at the Pac Man and Ms Pac man screen shots below...the ghosts have eyes with whites and pupils -- which no other system of that era can boast. And Imagic's "Demon Attack" is probably the very best version on any system. It supports speech, has multitudes of crazy looking aliens, a nice planet background, and even a boss level! WOW!

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TI made an ET game! It's really just a Frogger clone. How weird is that?
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I hope no one worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster, because the first Demon Attack aliens look like FSM.
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TI made TWO ET games! I have no idea how to play this second one.
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Overall, this multi-cart is a bargain -- even having to buy the 32k memory expansion. Worth every penny, and I can't wait to explore all the games available on this thing.

Please feel free to send me feedback! I have several other multi-carts to share if there is any interest!

  • Justin, greenween, AtariBrian and 1 other like this



I only have a harmony cart, but I have thought about getting a 5200 multicart, but then I may never get every game ever made for the system.  I'd love to get my hands on a multicart for the 7800 cause I will never breakdown and pay for games like river patrol.

    • RickR likes this
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I think my biggest concern with multicarts is that they cut down on collecting for the system. I collect to collect, but I also collect to play the games, and if I can play every game on one cart, it makes collecting the games lose some of its point for me. 

 

I just got an Everdrive N8 for my birthday, and already my NES collecting has ground to a halt. However, I also got an Everdrive with my TG-16 that I got for Christmas last year, and that has been a godsend given the insane prices of Turbo games, not to mention the converter I would need if I wanted to play PC Engine titles.

 

I've thought about getting a Harmony Cart, but I'm really worried it will kill my quest to collect almost every 2600 game. It would be nice to be able to play the rarer stuff though...

 

I think what it boils down to is, are you a collector, are you a player, are you both, and what is your budget? Multicarts tend to cost a lot up front, but save so much money long term.

    • RickR likes this
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Good points.  It's only slowed down my collecting for those systems that aren't at the top of my list anyways.  For example, I do have a Harmony cart, but I still will buy any 2600 game I don't have.  The Harmony cart is just a lot more convenient to use.  Plus all the homebrews and hacks.

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