The wait is finally over. The ultimate Nintendo 3DS flash cart is here: the Stargate 3DS.
In this review, the basic operations of this flash cart will be covered as well as testing several DS and 3DS games. This flash cart is plug and play and can switch between DS and 3DS mode on the fly as well as within its DS menu.
After my initial review of the pre-release version earlier this weekend, the StarGate 3DS team has been working with me on some of the issues i found during my initial review and extensive testing, and I have posted an update from them HERE which you can read, and have updated some of my points in my review below.
Please note that this is a pre-release version of the Stargate 3DS Nintendo 3DS flash cart. The final version may differ slightly and have improved compatibility over this one. This flash cart currently does not support “region free” (Retail ROM images of games from outside the region of the console it is inserted into are not supported. For example, it does not officially play Japan and Europe ROMs on a USA system). If you require region free, use Ntrboothax / magnethax and install a CFW (custom firmware).
In the past, 3DS flash carts required files to be copied onto the internal SD card of the console and the user to go into some system menus to launch. That is not the case with the Stargate 3DS. It operates similar to the old style DS flash carts, only requiring its firmware files and menu to be copied directly to its own microSD card. This is very convenient especially for New 3DS owners because now the user is not required to open the back of the New 3DS or the side panel of the Old 3DS system to get the MicroSD or SD card out of their system.
We will begin by taking a look at the Stargate 3DS package and its contents.
The Stargate 3DS ships in a tall thin box with a matte finish. Within the box is the Stargate 3DS as well as a MicroSD to USB adapter with a nice Stargate 3DS logo printed on it. The inner box also has the Stargate 3DS logo and has a flap secured by a small transparent circle sticker.
This flash cart is the easiest to set up and use. This is the first and only 3DS flash cart that operates as plug and play. All that is required is copying the firmware / menu set to the MicroSD card that is to be inserted into the flash cart. Once this is done, insert the Stargate 3DS into the 3DS console and turn it on. This flash cart can also be ejected and removed and put back in while the system is operating just like a retail cartridge.
When inserting the Stargate 3DS into the console, the cover sticker can get caught on the metal chassis of the system. This is not going to be the case on the final product. A thinner sticker will come with it. The pre-release cartridge itself is not too thick but it is just thick enough for this to become a small issue. Removing the cartridge is easy but it may not come out as smoothly as a retail cartridge due to the sticker being just thick enough to cause it to be a tiny bit snug inside the console.
The Stargate 3DS comes equipped with a small set of two buttons, a micro USB female port, and an LED changing color light indicator for operation. The two small buttons are for selecting 3DS ROMs but when both are pressed at the same time, the flash cart enters DS mode. To update the internal firmware of the flash cart, there is a micro USB female port included. This port is not important to this review because there is no new firmware available currently so the operation of this port will not be included. For the light indicators, when the LED is red, that means there is a problem with the microSD card that is inserted. Green indicates that it is reading the game image and a momentary purple flash indicates that its status is OK.
Let’s try out some games and test both 3DS and DS modes.
3DS games can be selected either by using the left and right buttons on the flash cart or from within the Nintendo DS flash cart mode’s menu which will be discussed next.
Tested 3DS games:
- Asphalt 3D
- BlazBlue Continuum Shift 2
- Bust a Move Universe
- Castlevania Mirror of Fate US
- Corpse Party
- Disney Art Academy
- Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (New 3DS XL with CFW)
- Dragon Ball Fusions
- Dragon Quest VII
- Hyrule Warriors Legends
- Kid Icarus Uprising
- Kirby Planet Robobot
- Kirby Triple Deluxe
- Lego City Undercover
- Madden Football
- Mario Golf World Tour
- Mario Kart 7
- Mario Party Island Tour
- Mario Tennis Open
- Megaman Legacy Collection
- Metroid Federation Force
- Metroid: Samus Returns (New 3DS XL with CFW)
- Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
- New Super Mario Bros. 2 (dumped from original cart through Godmode9)
- Picross 3D Round 2 New 3DS
- Pilotwings Resort
- Pokemon Omega Ruby and Omega Sapphire
- Pokemon X and Y
- Puzzle Dragons Z + Puzzle Dragons Super Mario Edition
- Rayman 3D
- Ridge Racer 3D
- Sega 3D Classics Collection
- Sega 3D Classics Collection Volume 2 Japan (New 3DS XL with CFW)
- Sega 3D Classics Collection Volume 3 Japan (New 3DS XL with CFW)
- Shadow Warriors Chronicles
- Sonic Boom Fire and Ice
- Starfox 64 3D
- Steel Diver Sub Wars (dumped from original cart through Godmode9)
- Super Mario 3D Land
- The Oregon Trail
- Transformers Dark of the Moon
- World Wrestling All Stars
- WRC FIA World Rally Championship (New 3DS XL with CFW)
- Yoshi's New Island
- Zelda A Link Between Worlds
- Zelda Triforce Heroes
- All eShop 3DS titles
- All Europe games (on a US console, region free is not supported yet)
- All Japan games (on a US non-modified console)
- Castlevania Mirror of Fate Japan (on a US console, region free is not supported yet)
- eShop 3D Classics Kid Icarus
- eShop Mega Man 6
- Mario Party The Top 100
- New Super Mario Bros. 2 (bad dump)
- Pokemon Sun and Moon
- Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
- Steel Diver: Sub Wars (bad dump)
Some 3DS titles are not working which are the newest games. This is going to be addressed in a future update. Bad dumps that work on other flash carts do not work on the Stargate 3DS. I was amazed to see that the “scene” improperly dumped at least a couple of common games and that I could do an exact duplicate of a retail cart without any issue. Of course I had to use CFW in order to dump the games myself.
In order to access DS mode, press both buttons on the flash cart together while the system is on. The Alex Rider: Stormbreaker game icon will then be displayed and upon launching will take the user to the DS menu. DS games are directly launched and played from within this menu. If a 3DS game is selected, it will take the user back to the 3DS system menu and display the icon for the game there. Please note that I tested Castlevania games which, in the past, had compatibility issues with slow microSD cards in DS flash carts.
Tested DS games:
- Advance Wars: Dual Strike
- Age of Empires: Age of Kings (Europe)
- Bomberman DS (Japan)
- Call of Duty 4 (Japan)
- Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
- Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
- Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
- Chrono Trigger
- Diddy Kong Racing
- Dragon Quest V
- Mario Kart DS
- Metal Slug 7
- Pokemon Diamond
- Super Mario 64 DS
- Tetris DS
- Yoshi Touch & Go
All Nintendo DS games work fine and do not freeze. Just remember to format the microSD card as FAT32, otherwise you will get two white screens and be forced to either go back to the main system menu or power off the console. Currently this flash cart does not currently support exFAT for DS games, but this will be added later in a future update.
On a New 3DS system with CFW (custom firmware), I was able to get a couple Japanese games to work. These were: Sega Classics Collection volumes 2 and 3. The other game I tested, Castlevania: Mirror of Fate (Japan version) did not work. Keep in mind that neither region free nor CFW is currently supported by Stargate 3DS and since there are multiple different CFW in the wild, you can possibly get region free to work on your own for more games.
The problem with running CFW on the New 3DS is that it makes the Stargate 3DS’ DS mode incompatible with the console and it will display garbled screens on both the upper and lower screens, asking the user to select a language. This is not normal operation of the DS mode on this flash cart. CFW is not currently officially supported by the Stargate 3DS and different CFW versions may have different results. If you already have CFW on your system and need to uninstall it, use the B9S-Uninstall script after launching Godmode9.
Another problem I found was that DS games give two white screens if launched from a microSD card formatted with exFAT. The DS games ran flawlessly from a FAT32 volume microSD card. exFAT will be added for DS games in a future update.
I also found that if you are running the incorrect system firmware revision, newer games will refuse to load. So make sure that you are running the appropriate version of the system firmware for the games you are playing. This is a ROM software issue and not an issue related to the Stargate 3DS itself.
Nintendo eShop 3DS ROMs are also incompatible with the Stargate 3DS. They will not run and if the user manages to select the game on the main screen of the 3DS, it will not display an icon for the game. The eShop games are hacked to work so it is not too surprising that they do not work on this flash cart.
The Stargate 3DS supports online gaming mode. This requires a proper header file to be applied to the ROM to be played online. In the past, we saw the need for a new file extension: *.3dz files. The *.3dz file extension games do not display in its menu and cannot be launched. Renaming the *.3dz files to *.3ds allows the games to be recognized and to launch and be played online.
This flash cart is the latest and to be the greatest flash cart of all time after team Stargate 3DS does a few updates. Currently, it is excellent for those whom just want to play their region of 3DS games and DS games without having to modify their console in any way. Team Stargate is prepared to support this product for several years with updates to both 3DS and DS modes. We should be seeing better compatibility of games, DS cheat mode, better exFAT support, region free, and more in the future.
In its current state, with the issues faced while testing this flash cart, I give this flash cart a B+. It is excellent as a plug-and-play flash cart but lacks a few features that people are used to seeing in a 3DS flash cart package.
- Supports all Nintendo 3DS and 2DS console variants.
- Supports all versions of System NAND (all of the 3DS console’s internal system “Version”).
- Fully plug and play.
- Supports 99% of 3DS games per console region (future updates will allow the entire library to run).
- Supports all DS games.
- Supports exFAT and FAT32 file systems (older 4GB 3DS ROMs do work in exFAT).
- Drag and drop ROM file support to microSD card.
- Does not require any files to be installed on the console’s internal SD card.
- Does not require the 3DS console to be software or hardware modified.
- Supports both DS and 3DS games.
- Supports online gaming.
- On the fly switching between DS and 3DS mode.
- 3DS and DS ROMs supported within the DS mode menu.
- Better updates supporting more CFW variants will be added.
- Super NES and a few more in house emulators are in the works.
- A new Japanese font will be added that will be more readable, as requested by Japanese users.
- Low power consumption SoC design.
- Updates for years to come (no need to buy a new flash cart later).
Final Review Notes!
- DS games do not work from exFAT microSD cards (FAT32 file system is required, this will be addressed in a future update).
- The latest 3DS games do not currently work (this will be addressed in future updates).
- Nintendo eShop 3DS games do not currently work (eShop titles are tricky even on CFW).
- Not officially region free (install CFW if region free is required).
- Does not fully support all CFW (custom firmware. Updates to compatibiity will be added).
- Does not support Gateway 3DS split rom format (use exFAT for large ROMs greater than 2GB in size. This wil be added in the future).
- Does not have a spring loaded microSD card slot. (some people prefer it this way and the final product may differ from this pre-release version)
- Stargate 3DS sticker can easily get caught on the 3DS chassis when inserting the cart. (Since this is a pre-release of the product, this will be addressed on the final version of the cart with a thinner sticker)
After my initial review of the pre-release version earlier this weekend, the StarGate 3DS team has been working with me on some of the issues i found during my initial review and extensive testing, and I have posted an update from them HERE which you can read, and have updated some of my points in my review above.
Many thanks to Team Stargate 3DS for providing me with this pre-production review sample before the final retail versions ship out next week to resellers and pre-orders. This flash card kit normally retails for around 70 to 90 Euros (shop around for the best price, check out the official resellers listed on the Stargate website) and is definitely the future of gaming on the Nintendo 3DS handheld. This flash cart on-board CPU is also totally firmware upgradable via its MicroUSB port and as such will be supported with many updates by Team Stargate for years to come. Plus alot of my cons reviewing the pre-production model have already been addressed by the team and updated firmware will soon be available on their official website which is linked below.
Our very own @JHardin1112 has also released a nice review of the StarGate 3DS on his NintendoFuse website, check it out here, plus he has added a simple video on how it works, which you can watch below!
OFFICIAL SITE: --> http://www.StarGate-3DS.com
- Official Reseller in USA via 3DS-Flashcard.cc: --> http://3ds-flashcard.cc/home/49-stargate-3ds-for-all-games-on-3ds2ds-xl.html
- BUY IT NOW via Shop01Media: --> http://www.shop01media.com/en/SG-3DS-Stargate-3DS-flash-card-Nintendo-3DS?tracking=55d384d869281
- BUY IT NOW via ModChipFrance: --> http://modchip83.com/en/modules-puces/163-stargate-3ds.html
- http://stargate3ds.org/home/26-stargate-3ds.html (UK reseller)
- http://www.jeux-land.com/accueil/20-stargate-3ds.html (UK reseller)
- http://www.gospiel.com/home/22-stargate-3ds.html (German Reseller)