One Done Right

My mini-review of the Action Replay MAXXX.

As a long time gamer and equally long time cheater at games, I have to admit that for many years, the cheating devices on the market left a lot to be desired. The original Game Genie for the NES looked like a 2600 game when you booted it up. The codes were impossible to remember, given that the character sets seemed arbitrary. Sadly enough, this hadn’t really changed much over the last 10 years.
But I think, finally, someone has gotten it right. On a whim today, I picked up the Action Replay Max. Now, your bullshit alert may be tingling – after all, you’re looking at the word MAX in the name of a product. I’m half surprised they didn’t call it EXTREME.
But when I booted it up, I was beyond pleasantly surprised – I was honestly a little shocked. Nice interface, smooth framerate, easy to browse, lots of on-screen help; even a little downtempo groove in the background. Certainly easy on the eyes.
One of the problems with code-list style cheat devices (where the list is saved to a memory card, rather than input by hand) is that the list is huge, and scrolling through it to find the game you want is tedious. And while the scrolling here is less tedious, you don’t even have to scroll. If you put in a game, and the ARMax recognizes it, it will automatically jump you to that particular code section. This is so amazingly simple, yet so amazingly brilliant. Why hasn’t anyone done this sooner?
The other major problem is code management. Inputting codes is a pain in the ass. Behold, that’s a thing of the past here too. If you’ve got a network adapter (apparently you need broadband, but who knows why), the thing will hit Datel’s database and download the new codes, properly labeled and able to identify the new game, for you. It’s maybe 3 button presses to update your code library. Already between when it shipped and when I bought it, there were updates with a ridiculous number of codes for Soul Calibur 2.
There are other nice touches, too. A region selector for DVDs is built in, so you just pop in the DVD, select the region, hit the DVD on the PS2 browser once it shows up, and off you go. There’s also a “Powersaves” feature, which will let you copy any number of saves (either from the disk by default or from the Datel website) to your memory cards, making full unlocking for lazy people even easier.
As a jaded old gamer, I’m honestly really impressed with what a good job they did putting this together. Anyone in the market for a GameShark-like device should really, really check this out.