Greetings all on the new forums,
i thought i'd port my old FAQ over here and editit a bit to make it a little more current. Thanks to everyne who posted and mailed with advice and compliments!
I just want to make it clear that i do not advocate video game piracy or modifying your PS2 console. I don't know anything about copying or downloading the game.
Anyhow, this tutorial will certainly hep the many, many European and Australian fans of the series who want to play the US or JAP release of the game which has now been permanently and sadly cancelled by Konami.
The only reason igot into the import game scene was Suikoden 3. I brought 6 copies for myself and my friends back with me from a recent trip to America, and spent the last few weeks figuring out how to make them all work. I did not modify any of the Consoles involved in any way which would void their warranty (when applicable), and i did not purchase or do anything which is against the law, in the UK, at least.
In addition, Suikoden 3 is notoriously a 'problem game' for PS2 chips to run, and as such this makes it even harder for worldwide fans to get a copy to work, as websites selling chips often lie or exaggerate the capailities of their product. The following tutorial will be sufficient for anyone who has a PAL Playstation2 which has not been modified to play the game, with one additional purchase (a boot disk), and five easy steps. Once everything's together, the boot process itself takes about a minute.
I also include a guide to making the game work on your PAL TV, old or new. I had never ventured into the shady world of Ps2 imports before, so this guide is comprehensive and for the total newbie. I dont intend to import any more games, either, so i know nothing about making other 'problem' games load. However, i have encountered and solved many specific problems involving this one game, and thee is a checklist at the very end in case the method still doesn't workfor you.
Before we go any further, there is another purchase necessary to make anything happen. To make the console run imported games, a boot disk which bypasses the regional lock-out is required, as well as a solution to avoid the PS2's disk drive realising that the boot disk is being used. This is called a 'swap method' solution.
Unfortunately it means you have to spend Â£15-20 on another disk to make Suikoden 3 work. You can't copy this boot disk, it must be original as the same lock-out protects against copied games. To get hold of a boot disk set, just type "swap magic 3.0" then your country name into your local Google, and a web store which sells them should pop up. Be sure that you are getting the CD version 3.0 and the DVD version 2.0 of these boot disks, the most recent release of the Swap Magic product. *EDIT* I believe newer versions are now availiable, they ought to be fine and might even reduce the length of the process.
The next stage is getting a swap method. This needn't cost any more money (see below) You can either buy whats called a "slide card" for your console, or a flip top case to replace the original PS2 lid from the same websites which sell the boot disks. Either way you need to make some very slight modifications to your PS2. You can actually MAKE a slide card out of an old credit card for nothing, using these specifications:http://mysite.verizon.net/vze1xay5/pics/Swipe-Card.gif
In the case of the slide card, you need only take the cover of the PS2's drive tray off, which does not harm the console in any way nor void the warranty. Its a case of unscrewing a single screw, and then replacing it again. Full instructions for using the slide card, and removing the front cover can be found here:https://secure.com-us.net/afpworld/support/supp_slidecard.htm
In the case of the flip top lid, using this DOES VOID THE WARRANTY, and instructions for fitting should come with the product. Personally I made a few slide cards, and they have worked fine for me and my 5 friends so far. The actual sliding is simple once you experiment a little. I figured it out in about ten minutes, having never even seen it done before. Full instuctions and movies (!) of how to use it can be found here:http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/15105
Once you have the boot disks and the swap method sorted out , The Suikoden 3 US/JAP original import Game will boot in five steps:Step one:
Insert the Swap Magic V3.0 CD (note the CD
, not the DVD), into the Ps2 and let it load.Step two:Press Eject
and take out the disk. Replace it with the Swap Magic V2.0 DVD
and let it load back to the same screen as it was on before you ejected the tray.Step Three:
Use your flip-top or slide-tool to open the disk drive without the PS2 knowing about it.Step Four:
Replace the Swap Magic DVD with the Suikoden 3 DVD game disk. Close the drive by pushing it back in, and then either close the flip top lid or use the slide tool to lock the drive.Step five:
On the screen, select the correct video mode (more on this below), then select "Load Game" and push X
The screen turns red, then gray (or deeper red if you've got a nice new tv), then the konami logo should pop up, and the intro movie should play!
---Notes and Troubleshooting
The game is an NTSC signal game, and as such i recommend getting a 60hz compatible TV to play it on. However, do not fear, the following will allow you to play the game on any TV in colour. IF YOUR GAME IS BOOTING IN BLACK AND WHITE
, this section is for you:
If your TV has no SCART socket:Select the video mode PAL from the selection screen
before booting the game. The game will run in colour, but the streamed audio will be jerky, and the game will scroll poorly. The only way to fix this problem is to either play the game in black and white, or get a newer TV. Sorry.
If your TV has a SCART socket:
The newer your TV, the more likely this is to work. Purchase an RGB SCART cable from your local games store, and try replacing your PS2 SCART with that. In newer, 60hz capable TVs it will do the trick. and the video mode should be set to 'NORMAL' Otherwise, im afraid the above applies to you too. If animation seems jerky, try setting the boot mode to nTSC for a smmother frame rate but worse quality picture.
The NTSC game is NOT compatible with PAL memory card saves, so there is no way to port PAL Suikoden 2 data across, unfortunately. All Memory cards still work fine for saving and loading S3 data, though. *EDIT* Some methods appear to be out there which may allow the data transfer, if you find one which works 100% of the time, pm me and ill add it here, and credit you of course. Happy Hunting!
If this guide is not working for you, then please check your console version here:
If you have a version 1-6 machine, try spring cleaning your PS2. Clean the lens, dust it out, and try again, its hardware, not software, that's your problem. Put your Ps2 in the flat position, and put a semi-heavy item like a hardback book or two on top of it, then try again. Try loading the swap magic cd directly from switching on the machine for a higher success rate.
If you have a version 7, 8, or 9+ machine, then the newer lock-out technology in these consoles may in some cases be preventing you from booting the game, however, hope is not lost! The way to fix this problem requires a CD burner, a blank CD-R (NOT RW!) and the program "Alcohol 120%" (a free trial version is availiable online). once you have that all running, Download and extract this file:http://home.rochester.rr.com/ps2cover/CDLoader_V7_ALL.zip
Then run alcohol 120%, click "image burning wizard", then select 'browse', find the files you just extracted, and select the ".cue" file. The wizard should do the rest.
Now, after loading the software onto a blank CD, start the process again, insert the Swap Magic 3 CD
, then USE THE SWAP METHOD, and insert the new burned CDR
, select "CDLOADER BETA3" from the menu, let it load then EJECT, and insert the Swap Magic 2 DVD
, then USE THE SWAP METHOD, and insert the game disk, press X
and it will load. Video modes in this new interface are controlled using the Square button rather than the directional keys.
--Checklist: If this STILL doesn't work....
Are you sure youre locking the drive after you insert the game?
Are you sure you're pressing X to boot not Square?
Are you sure youre using Swap Magic Version 2 of the DVD and version 3 of the CD?
Try using, instead of the Swap magic DVD, a high TOc original PAL game like Vice city or FFX to replace the Swap magic CD in the first instance. That might solve it for you.
Can you boot other games and/or backups with SwapMagic? Maybe you have defective disks...
I really hope this helps fans of the series play their ORIGINAL games, that it remains in this forum, and that it helps convince Konami to not make us all go through similar grief next time by releasing a PAL conversion of suikoden IV!
"No Condition is Permanent" - West African Proverb.