Now you are playing with power. Super power.
…. or are you?
The C2M Classic 2 Magic
Are you really playing with super power or is your SNES / NES Classic Edition operating without a proper cartridge slot? Worry not, the C2M company has come up with a solution for you that aims to please those whom want to easily add more features to their console.
This is the Classic 2 Magic by team C2M supplied by MOD3DSCARD for us to review. It is a full 16-bit SNES region-free cartridge slot which is intended to be compatible with all regions of SNES and Super Famicom game cartridges. This handy bulky little device plugs directly into the SNES Classic Edition or the NES Classic Edition of your choosing and supports a wide range of classic 16-bit video games. It is intended to be user friendly and fool proof. We will put it through its paces in this review.
Within this official MaxConsole review, the installation and basic operations of this device will be covered as well as a small amount of technical information to get you going. A few cartridges will be tested as well as some emulated ROMs from various systems that it supports out of the box (well, almost out of the box. You download all of its software from the official C2M product website, which recently just released v1.2 that improves on compatibility!).
Let us first take a look at the package and contents of the Classic 2 Magic:
The Classic 2 Magic comes in a nice quality matte finish cardboard box (the shape of the box pictured might not be of the final product). Inside the box is an included white USB A to micro USB cable and the Classic 2 Magic device wrapped nicely in a bubble pack bag.
This device is easy to set up and promises to be simple to install. Plug in the device as follows:
Let’s hold off on plugging the power into the Classic 2 Magic device for now because that will automatically power up the device. We will now set up the USB memory stick so that we can operate all this hardware together.
- Plug the included white USB A to the back of the Classic 2 Magic
- Plug the micro USB side of the same white cable into the back of the SNES / NES Classic Edition console.
- Plug the HDMI cable from the SNES / NES Classic Edition into the back of the console and from there to the back of your TV set or computer monitor.
To properly set up the USB memory stick, do the following:
Software first-time installation process for consoles that were not previously modded with hackchi:
- Format the USB memory stick as FAT32 file system.
- Download C2M First Time Setup Files V1.1 and C2M USB Files V1.2 from www.classic2magic.com
- Un-compress both of these files to the root of the USB memory stick that was formatted using the FAT32 file system.
- C2M recommends doing a “safe eject” on the USB memory stick from the PC. I know that “safe eject” is an automatic feature of Microsoft Windows since at least Windows 7, so I just wait until the files were copied completely to the USB memory stick and unplug it like I normally would. You can feel free to do the “safe eject” on it if you wish from your start menu bar.
If your console was previously modified with hackchi, follow the above software installation steps but instead of uncompressing the “first time installation” file from Classic 2 Magic’s web site, use the C2M Uninstall File V1.1 to remove the modification. After that process is complete, remove all the files from the USB memory stick or re-format it (FAT32 file system) and follow the software first-time installation procedure above again, using the C2M First Time Setup Files V1.1 and C2M USB Files V1.2 from www.classic2magic.com.
- Insert the USB memory stick into the Classic 2 Magic USB slot that is on top of the device next to the cartridge slot.
- Plug in the micro USB power to the back of the Classic 2 Magic. Note that a power supply of at least 1 amp at 5 volts DC is recommended, such as the one the SNES / NES Classic Edition shipped with. I have found that the power coming out of the USB 3.0 ports on my desktop were sufficient so I just used one of those.
- Wait a couple of seconds for the green LED to slowly flash on and off. This lets you know that it is ready to go into installation mode.
- Hold the Reset button on your console and power on the console, keeping the Reset button pressed for about 5 seconds and release it.
- Be patient because it can take many seconds for the Classic 2 Magic to start installing. When it is initially stalling, the green LED light will flash two times then off and two times off and on again and then proceed to flashing three times, then four. During this part of the installation phase, there will be no video output through the HDMI port on the console.
- Eventually you will see the Classic 2 Magic boot up screen and some installation text. More patience is required, as it can take up to five minutes to complete installation.
- After installation is complete, you will see a new different menu with a few icons on your screen.
Once you have patiently done all of the above (patience is key here, it took me a few tries to realize that I needed to wait! So if you are stuck anywhere, that more than likely means that you did not wait long enough for the LED flashing routine to start the installation process), you are now able to use the full features of this product including but not limited to usage of the cartridge slot. The other features primarily are included emulators from the packages installed as well as the capability to run a random game or the games that were originally included on the console.
Next, let’s take a look at running a physical cartridge on this device. To run a retail game cartridge, do the following:
I only own relatively a few retail cartridges for the Super NES and the Super Famicom (SFC). Most of my games use special chips such as the SA-1 and the Super FX. Here are the cartridges I tested with the Classic 2 Magic on the SNES Classic Edition:
- Unplug the power from the Classic 2 Magic device.
- Plug a cartridge into its cartridge slot.
- Plug the power back in to the Classic 2 Magic device.
- Turn on the SNES / NES Classic Edition console.
- Wait about 12 seconds for the retail game cartridge data to synchronize with the Classic 2 Magic.
- You should see an icon to run the game cartridge.
- Select run game cartridge.
- Your game should now start fine.
- Dirt Trax FX (Super FX)
- Great Battle II – The Last Fighter Twin (SFC)
- Madden NFL 95
- Mario Paint
- Pilotwings (DSP1B)
- Stunt Race FX (Super FX)
- Super Mario Kart (DSP1A)
- Front Fareast of Eden Zero (SFC, SA-1)
- PGA European Tour (SA-1)
- Mini 4WD Shining Scorpion Let's & Go!! (SFC, SA-1)
- SD F-1 Racing Grand Prix (SFC, SA-1)
- SD Gundam GX (SFC, DSP3)
- Star Fox (Super FX GSU-01)
- Star Fox 2 Beta English Translated (Super FX 2)
- Super Bomberman World (SFC, SA-1)
About half of the games I tested did not work at all with the Classic 2 Magic adapter. Most of the non-working games would not display a cartridge icon in the console’s GUI. The Super FX games that did not work made the console think the Classic 2 Magic was not present, so it just booted to the default menu of games that was included with the system. This may be because all of them use special chips and the device might not be able to read their ROM file past the special chip contained on the PCB (printed circuit board). From my testing, it appears that most non special chip games should work as well as some special chip games such as DSP1 and some of the Super FX games.
Packed in emulators. Retroarch 1.7.3 with cores.
In this part of the review, I will showcase emulators packed in from C2M’s website for the Classic 2 Magic as well as a few games running on each emulator core under Retroarch. Simply drag and drop uncompressed console ROMs and zipped arcade ROMS to the \C2M\roms\ folder on your USB memory stick and then plug it into the Classic 2 Magic and power on the SNES / NES Classic Edition console. The Classic 2 Magic will automatically import (nearly) all of your ROMs into the appropriate directory structure. This process will be displayed on a black background when starting the console with new ROMs for the first time of importing new files.
- Marvel vs Capcom (Final Burn Advance 2012)
- Tokyo Wars (very slow and problematic)
- Samurai Aces
- Shadow Force
- None! (with the exception of Tokyo Wars giving me a lot of problems)
I just had to try out Tokyo Wars because I knew it would not work. To my surprise, I got it to play once although it was very slow. Afterwards, each subsequent time I loaded it, it froze after displaying the system BIOS. The other arcade games I tested here worked fine and with little flaw. Marvel vs Capcom plays great.
- G.I. Joe – Cobra Strike
- Pitfall! – Pitfall Harry’s Jungle Adventure
If you really want to torture yourself, go ahead and play old blocky Atari 2600 games. Colecovision was the king of this era. Unfortunately with all the hype surrounding the Atari brand name and the collapse of the stock market in 1987 and the video game market collapse, the Colecovision did not survive. I also wonder why there is no Colecovision core included with this setup. I have Colecovision games loaded on my NES Classic Edition.
- Food Fight
I am impressed with this console / emulator. While it is still an 8-bit machine, the games and arcade ports on this fare much better than the Atari 2600. Food Fight is an awesome game and so is Rampage. The port of Galaga is sufficient but not the same as what I am used to. All of these games play fine on the SNES / NES Classic Edition.
- California Games
- Chip’s Challenge
While it was not one of the best handheld consoles released, it still bared the, then aged and outdated, Atari brand name. I never owned this console, as it was a total blurrfest to play. But so was the more popular Nintendo Game Boy. It just had a ton more games and slightly better display although it was not color.
- Air Strike (Proto)
- Pole Position
- Jetson’s – The Way With Words (takes you back to the console menu after displaying some animation on title screen)
This is a system I never heard of until emulators for it came along. The games appear to be mediocre at best. I expect that most of its library will run properly on this emulator.
Neo Geo Pocket Color
- Fantastic Night Dreams Cotton
- Metal Slug 1st Mission
- SNK Gal’s Fighters
The NGPC was a great console and I hoped that it would survive. Competing with Nintendo is very difficult however with all the licensing and games that get put out for their handheld systems. Nintendo reigned king supreme of this era and the NGPC died a sudden death. It is a wonderful little console though and you can pick them up relatively cheap on eBay these days. I own one but I am too cheap to buy myself a flash cart for the thing since emulators pretty much negate the need for one and they tend to be a little bit pricey in comparison to other handheld system flash carts. All of the games I tried worked flawlessly. I decided to include Rainbow Cotton because it is a $100+ collectible (in cartridge form anyway). It works great too.
- 007 GoldenEye
- Killer Instinct Gold (Rev A and Rev B)
- NFL Blitz
The N64 emulator played well (compatibility wise and graphically) but it was pretty slow. I would not call it garbage though. It is a very advanced emulator core and I saw very little problems with KI Gold and 007 Goldeneye, both of which in the past were very difficult to emulate properly. Both of these games had noticeable slowdowns. I don’t know why NFL Blitz did not work.
Nintendo Entertainment System
- Blaster Master
- Little Nemo The Dream Master
- Rad Racer
Quite possibly and arguably the best console of all time that ever existed, the NES had an extensive library of games. I tested a few here and they all worked fine. I don’t expect issues with very many games on this emulator core.
Nintendo Game Boy
- Super Mario Land
- Super R.C. Pro-Am
The supreme champion of the late 80’s / early 1990s handheld video game system which was not actually black and white but featured a puke green dot matrix screen which by today’s standards (and possibly even then) was almost too blurry to play side scrollers on but not as blurry as the Sega Game Gear or Atari Lynx. This console literally killed all of the competition up until the release of the Gameboy Color.
Nintendo Game Boy Advance
- Advance Wars 2 – Black Hole Rising
- Street Fighter Alpha 3
- Super Mario Advance
I got into the Nintendo Game Boy Advance scene late but it was a really excellent console. The above games demonstrate how capable of a console this is. Even the port of the arcade game Street Fighter Alpha 3 is excellent and entirely rivals the Street Fighter Alpha 2 port for the SNES. This system has some very well done games.
Nintendo Game Boy Color
- Super Mario Bros. Deluxe
Ok so where did my other two ROMs I loaded onto my USB memory stick go? I tested Super Mario Bros. Deluxe and it worked fine but the C2M nuked the other two games I was trying to test. The Game Boy Color was a great console and made sure that Nintendo had weak competition throughout its life span.
Nintendo Virtual Boy
- 3-D Tetris
- Virtual Boy Wario Land
- Virtual Boy Tennis
This is one of Nintendo’s biggest failures. The Virtual Boy was a neat concept and had a few good games on it. The emulator core for this system did not like Virtual Boy Tennis but it played 3-D Tetris and Virtual Boy Wario Land properly. If you enjoy burning out your retinas with one of the hardest colors on the eyes, red, then by all means enjoy.
PC Engine TurboGrafx / SuperGrafx
- China Warrior
- Street Fighter II Champion Edition
- Bonk’s Adventure
This system had an excellent and beautiful port of the 16-bit arcade hit Street Fighter II Champion Edition. We did not see this port in the US due to licensing issues primarily coming from Nintendo. Thankfully we get to enjoy it in all its 8-bit greatness on this emulator. It is amazing that an 8-bit console can properly play a port of a 16-bit game so beautifully. I tested out China Warrior and it worked fine. Oddly the flagship title Bonk’s Adventure gave a black screen and did not run.
- Knuckles Chaotix
- Star Wars Arcade
Not a feeble attempt at a 32-bit console in my books, the Sega 32x add-on for the Sega Genesis 16-bit home entertainment console just had too few games. I have found several games on this to be enjoyable and play great. Knuckles Chaotix on this emulation core is a bit sluggish but the other two games I tested played fine. I just had to throw in Kolibri: a proper humming bird emulator and the best 32x game that exists. You control a humming bird and get to eat goodies from flowers which in turn form pretty crystals the pop out bonus items as well as shoot pellets at enemy bees, spiders, etc. It is just like how humming birds work in real life.
Sega Game Gear
- Super Chase HQ (Displays enlarged title screen and plays some music and stays there)
The C2M apparently deleted yet another game from my testing pool but it kept one game that worked and one game that froze. Bust-A-Move is always some fun times with the little dinosaur chucking bubble spheres at other bubble spheres to clear and finish each stage. Super Chase HQ is kind of a neat game (“This is Nancy!”), but, unfortunately it just did not work on this emulator core.
Sega Master System
- Columns ~ Shapes and Columns
- Space Harrier
- Super Off Road
I was amazed that every game I tested on the Sega Master System core worked fine and without a hitch. I had to test out Space Harrier because it is nostalgic and a hit title for this system. Super Off Road brings back memories of the 510 “Do Whatcha Like” BBS from back in the day. Ahhh a highly pirated title for the PC back then thanks to that bulletin board. I think they were running Telegard BBS software.
- Comix Zone
- Red Zone
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Genesis does! Well I guess you can do this on Nintendo. All Sega Genesis games I tested worked fine. I threw in the sleeper hit: Red Zone here to hopefully showcase some of the Genesis system’s greatest capabilities. We all know Comix Zone and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 were flagship titles for this system and they run fine.
- Armor Attack
- Blitz – Action Football
This is another console I am not familiar with and also only came to hear about after it was emulated. It is a unique system that has a built in screen and controllers. The emulator core played all of the tested games fine. The real thing is unique because it displays using vectors. I am not sure how much the emulator differs.
Bandai Wonder Swan Color
- Final Fantasy
- Hunter X Hunter – Greed Island
- SD Gundam Eiyuu Den – Kishi Densetsu
Ahhh the Bandai Wonder Swan Color. This is an infamous handheld system chock full of Jap-crap from the GBC / NGPC era of handheld video games. Thankfully, if you want to de-Jap some of the games, some titles have been translated to English. Final Fantasy is one of them that I tested though I did not get past the character select screen due to time constraints of this review. Anyway if you enjoy Jap-crap titles (other than Pokemon of course) and unique Japanese video game hardware, this system may just be up your alley. I believe this is an 8-bit console and did not really make it outside of Japan probably due to them knowing it would die a quick and painful death due to the Gameboy Color anyway. Regardless, with this type of assortment of games on it, it surely would have died out quickly in the States anyways even without Nintendo's domination of the handheld game market.
Emulators function properly for the most part. I just had to test out a game that has been problematic for some time: Killer Instinct Gold for Nintendo 64 to see how well it would run. While it does run great it has noticeable slowdown. Over all I am impressed with the N64 emulation on this system even though it runs the games I tested slowly. Also some of the games did not work in various emulators. I expected Bonk’s Adventure (Turbo Grafx 16) to fire right up when I loaded it, but it just gave a black screen. One of the Intellivision games, The Jetsons, went to the title screen then promptly exited back to the console’s menu. Chase HQ only showed part of the title screen on the Sega Game Gear and played music but stayed there.
Upon startup, the C2M system takes all the ROM files it finds and places them in their proper directories. I found this to be a slight problem because as you can see from the above, I was attempting to test at least 3 games per console emulator and some the console deleted some of the games. It also moved Mickey’s Magical Quest for Sega Master System into a bad dumps subfolder. That game loaded and played fine though.
I am somewhat impressed with this device. It offers an easy nearly plug-and-play modification to the SNES / NES Classic Edition and virtually unlimited storage through the USB memory stick slot. This system more or less acts as an OTG cable but a bit more powerful. It can allow you to install hackchi without needing to plug the console into a PC. However there were some caveats with this device. The device has to be unplugged every time you want to swap out a game cartridge due to the fact that it does not have a power button of its own. Also it is not compatible with the full library of SNES games and it does not support 8-bit NES cartridge games at all aside from the built-in emulators that allow you to copy in your own ROM files.
I give this device a score of B+. This is because I expected it to play every cartridge I plugged into it but it didn’t. It is a feature packed and nearly plug-and-play modification / upgrade to the SNES / NES Classic Edition console. I would recommend this device to anyone whom wants to be able to dump their own games as long as they typically do not have special chips inside besides some of the FX chips and the DSP1 variants which I found all to be working fine.
- Supports most of the SNES retail cartridge library.
- Easy way to modify the SNES / NES Classic systems.
- Supports both SNES and NES Classic Edition consoles.
- Supports virtually unlimited ROM storage via USB port for USB memory sticks.
- Has two status LED lights to indicate its operation.
- Comes with a USB A to micro USB cable for connection between the Classic 2 Magic and the console.
- Packaged files come with the latest emulators for playing various system ROM files.
Thanks to MOD3DSCARD for providing MaxConsole with the review sample of the Classic 2 Magic. This device has proven to be a simple way to modify the SNES / NES Classic Edition consoles without needing to plug the console into the PC at all. It also allows you to play a wide variety of retail cartridges since most games do not use special chips. This device normally retails for $59.95 and is available at the following retailers: (see the recommended list below)
- Does not support the full library of SNES cartridge games (this may be due to copy protection on some of the special chips).
- There is a load time for cartridges of about 12 seconds (I did not find this to be too much different from just booting the console with hackchi installed alone).
- Every time you want to play a new physical cartridge game, you should power off everything, insert the new cartridge, and then power everything back up.
- Does not include a power supply or secondary USB cable (just use the power supply included with the console to power everything).
- Does not work with 8-bit NES cartridges (I’m not sure if this is really a con since it obviously just has a 16-bit SNES cartridge slot)
- It “loses” (wipes out / deletes) some random ROM files when importing games for emulators.
- Compressed ROM files are not supported except for arcade ROMs.
- It costs almost as much as a SNES or NES Classic Edition console.
You can find out more about the Classic 2 Magic on its official website: http://classic2magic.com/
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