Sega Genesis/Sega CD Import FAQ, v0.93

Copyright (C) 2001 Trevor Wilson (

aka jiji (

[insert elite ascii art here]

Latest version always available at


I. Legal stuff
II. History
III. Why?
IV. What's missing?
V. Genesis
A. Can I play Megadrive games on my Genesis?
1. Genesis 1/Genesis 2
2. Nomad/Genesis 3
3. Will PAL games play on an NTSC Genesis?
4. Does the 32X have any sort of lockout? Will Jpn/PAL/US games work
with any 32X hardware?
B. What's this I hear about territory lockout?
1. What games have territory lockout?
2. How can I get past the territory lockout?
C. Are there convertor cartridges available?
1. Game Genie
a. What are some Game Genie codes one can use to play import games?
2. Honey Bee
3. Mega Key/Super Key
4. Pro Action Replay
a. What are some PAR codes one can use to play import games?
5. Datel Universal Adaptor
D. Can I modify my Genesis to play import games?
1. Can I add a territory switch and/or 50Hz/60Hz switch to my
Genesis/Mega Drive 1?
2. Can I add a 50Hz/60Hz switch to my Genesis/Mega Drive 2?
VI Sega CD
A. Is it possible to play foreign CDs on my Sega CD/Mega CD?
VII. Third-party Genesis/Sega CD consoles
A. JVC X'Eye/Wondermega
B. Pioneer LaserActive
VIII. Appendix
A. Who made these Game Genie codes? And how?
IX. Thanks

I. Legal stuff

This document may be reprinted in its entirety without the author's
permission. However, if material is taken from the document, credit must
be given to myself (and I'd like it if you emailed me first, too).

II. History

03/11/2001: v0.93
- Added Game Genie/PAR codes for Bare Knuckle III.
- Reduced the number of codes for Thunder Force IV, so they'll actually
work on a real Game Genie.
02/25/2001: v0.92
- Added information on the JVC X'Eye and Pioneer LaserActive. 
Thanks to The Scribe.
02/23/2001: v0.91
- Fixed the title of Yuu Yuu Hakusho Makyou Toitsusen.
- Added information on playing imports on the 32X
- Added information on switching a Genesis 2 for 50Hz/60Hz and for 
territory (thanks Mike G!)
02/23/2001: v0.9
- First release, preliminary version.

III. Why?

While deciding whether to try to import the European or Japanese version
of Alien Soldier a few months ago, I became rather confused as to whether I
could play it on my US Genesis with just a regular passthrough cartridge
and about what kind lockout it might have. I searched around for information
on this subject, but details were sketchy and answers on Usenet were vague.
I decided to try to collect all known information on the subject into a
single source so that others wouldn't be confused the same way I was.

IV. What's missing?

- This document is probably riddled with inaccuracies, so if you see any,
let me know and I'll clean them up.
- The only set of Game Genie codes I've been able to test on an actual
Genesis with an actual Game Genie and an actual game cartridge is the
one for Monster World IV. The rest were tested on DGen with the good ROM
dumps of the games. I can't see any reason why the rest of them
wouldn't work on a real Genesis, but if you try them out, let me know what
results you get.
- The list of games with software territory lockouts is by no means
complete. Information on any additional games would be much appreciated.
- I know for a fact that there are more convertor cartridges out there
than what I have listed, I just didn't have enough information on them 
to list them.

V. Genesis

Can I play Japanese Megadrive games on my Genesis?

Yes, with a few provisions. Take note: Some Japanese and European
games have a software lockout in place that affects every US version of
the console (yes, including the Genesis 3), described in full below.

Genesis 1/Genesis 2/CDX

The cartridge slot on the Genesis 1, 2, and CDX is different from that
of the Japanese Megadrive. Japanese cartridges are rounded on the ends,
so you won't be able to get a Japanese cartridge to fit into the
slotted and narrower cart slot on a Genesis 1/2/CDX. This can be
taken care of by either using a passthrough cartridge (see below) or
removing the tabs in your system's cartridge slot (not really recommended,
but hey, it's your choice).

Nomad/Genesis 3

The cartridge slot on the Genesis 3 is wide and spacious, and leaves
plenty of room for the extra plastic on the sides of Japanese
cartridges. Japanese carts will fit without any trouble. 

On the Nomad, there is enough room for Japanese carts, but it's a
tight fit and it may prove a bit difficult getting games in and out
smoothly, with the ridges on the Japanese carts.

Will PAL games play on an NTSC Genesis?

Yes, unless they have the 50/60hz lockout or territory lockout (see
below) in place. Many PAL versions of games are no different from their
US counterparts, which is why they play at a slower speed and with black
bars at the top and bottom of the screen on European consoles. These
games will play without trouble on US consoles. Other games (of which the
European version of Alien Soldier is one) have been adapted to the PAL
format, and thus will run too fast on US consoles (about 70hz).

Does the 32X have any sort of lockout? Will Jpn/PAL/US games work
with any 32X hardware?


From the* FAQ:

SEGA 32X: No new incompatibility, but the incompatibility of the 
underlying Genesis/Mega Drive (and CD player, if you're playing 32X
CD games) still applies; get a language switch and/or a Pro-CDX, just
like for regular Mega Drive and Mega CD games.


What's this I hear about a territory lockout?

For most of the Genesis's life, cartridges were produced without any
sort of territory protection. Some games even had multiple languages for
different territories, Neo Geo-style. However, later in the Genesis's
life, Sega and several third-party developers decided to start
implementing a software territory lockout to keep people from playing
games outside of the territory they were intended for. The software
routine is different in each game and always resides in a different
part of the program code. Basically what the routine does is to check the
hardware address in RAM that specifies what kind of Genesis the game
is running on (Japanese, US, European, etc), and if that doesn't match
the intended territory, the game locks up with an error message.

How can I get past it?

There are several different means available. By far the most readily
available (and least expensive) is to use a Game Genie with the proper
codes for that game to bypass the protection directly. Another is to
obtain a Mega Key, Super Key, Pro Action Replay, or Datel Universal
Convertor to bypass the protection (more on these below). A more
drastic step would be to install a territory switch in your system so that
you can simply switch your system to the necessary territory.

What games have it?

From the FAQ, plus some additions:

Do not run in English mode: Japanese versions of After Burner II,
Akumajou Dracula Vampire Killer, Alien Soldier, Bare Knuckle 3, 
Chameleon Kid, Contra: The Hard Corps, Doraemon, Gunstar Heroes, 
Monster World 4, Pulseman, Ragnacenti, Rolling Thunder II, Super 
Monaco GP 2, Super SF2, Thunder Force IV, Virtua Racing, Yuu Yuu 
Hakusho Makyou Toitsusen.
Do not run in Japanese mode: US versions of Aladdin, Bio-Hazard
Battle, Castlevania Bloodlines, Cyborg Justice, Dragon's Fury, 
Eternal Champions, FIFA Soccer '97 Gold Edition, Flashback, 
Gauntlet IV, Gunstar Heroes, Landstalker, Lightening Force,
Mazin Saga, Outrun 2019, Phantasy Star IV, Ren and Stimpy, Rocket
Knight Adventures, SF2CE, Shadowrun, Shining Force, Shinobi 3,
Streets of Rage II, Streets of Rage III, Subterrania, Sunset Riders,
Thunderstrike (CD), World of Illusion, X-Men.
Do not run in 50 hertz mode: US versions of Flashback, Sonic
Spinball, Streets of Rage II, World of Illusion, World Series
Baseball (And probably most of the ones that don't run in Japanese
mode, too.)
Does not run in 60 hertz mode: European version of Xenon2.


Are there convertor cartridges available?

Yes, there are several passthrough cartridges available that will allow
you to play import games on you Genesis.

Game Genie

This is by far the easiest and cheapest of the convertor cartridges to
come by. Originally intended as a cheat device for games, it intercepts
requests to certain locations in the ROM data of the cartridge and
replaces the actual data with bytes entered by the user. It accepts hex
addresses encoded into eight-character alphanumeric codes. By itself and
without entering any codes it acts as a great adaptor for the differently-
shaped Japanese Megadrive cartridges. By entering certain codes, the
territory lockout in certain games can be bypassed, allowing you to play
these games on your US Genesis. NOTE: The Genesis 3 will not work at all
with the Game Genie.

What are some Game Genie codes I can use to play import games?

Alien Soldier (EUR/JPN PAL, A version)


Alien Soldier (JPN NTSC, B version)


Bare Knuckle III


Contra: The Hard Corps (JPN)


Golden Axe III


Monster World IV




Rockman Megaworld (Mega Man: The Wily Wars JPN)


Thunder Force IV


Yuu Yuu Hakusho Makyou Toitsusen (yes, the Treasure one)


Honey Bee

Not much is known about this particular device, but it's assumed that it
is merely a passthrough cartridge meant only to overcome the physical
difference in cart shape.

Mega Key/Super Key

Both of these devices are passthrough cartridges that have several DIP
switches that allow the user to select the country and/or video format
that the game detects upon bootup. The Mega Key only has switches for
country selection, while the Super Key has the addition of a PAL/NTSC switch
for games that have a lockout based on the video format. Setting the
country switch to Japan, for example, would make a Japanese game with
territory lockout think it's being run on a Japanese system and therefore

Datel Action Replay

From Galen Tatsuo Komatsu:

"Action Replay: this is basically a Game Genie type device allowing up
to (I think) 4 codes to be entered."

Datel Pro Action Replay (PAR)

This is a device similar to the Game Genie, with the addition of being
able to modify data in RAM, as well as intercepting requests to the
cartridge ROM. Without entering any codes, it works as an excellent
passthrough device for games, but like the Game Genie, with certain codes
the territory lockout in certain games can be bypassed.

From Galen Tatsuo Komatsu:
"In addition to the above, it also includes the "trainer" to generate your 
own codes."

What are some PAR codes I can use to play import games?

Alien Soldier (EUR/JPN PAL, A version)


Alien Soldier (JPN NTSC, B version)


Bare Knuckle III


Contra: The Hard Corps (JPN)


Golden Axe III


Monster World IV




Rockman Megaworld (Mega Man: The Wily Wars JPN)


Thunder Force IV


Yuu Yuu Hakusho Makyou Toitsusen (yes, the Treasure one)


Datel Pro Action Replay 2

From Galen Tatsuo Komatsu:
"Pro Action Replay 2: taking further steps, this allows up to 100 codes
to be entered, has a built in library of codes for most games
available at the time, and some other functions, the most notable of
which bypasses territorial lockouts. The PAR2 has incompatability
problems with the Sega CDX. It appears to start up fine, but the
controller doesn't respond."

Datel Universal Adaptor

[information forthcoming]

Can I modify my Genesis to play import games?

Yes, but the procedure varies for the different Genesis/Mega Drive

Can I add a territory switch and/or 50Hz/60Hz switch to my Genesis/Mega
Drive 1?

Yes. From the Sega Programming FAQ:

How to make a language switch (Genesis/MD).

On a Genesis/MD, there are jumpers labelled JP1, JP2, JP4,
and JP3. The Genesis has a capacitor on JP1 and a trace on
JP2; the Mega Drive has a capacitor on JP2 and a trace on
JP1. The bottom ends of JP1 and JP2 are connected together.
So if you cut the trace and the top end of the capacitor, and
install a DPDT switch between them which reconnects them
either unchanged or swapped left to right, you have a
language switch. You'll need some wire, a soldering iron,
solder, and a DPDT switch.

Some machines have an open circuit instead of the capacitor.
Also, I've been told that even if there is a capacitor, you
can throw it out and leave an open circuit. Either way, the
switch is a lot simpler, requiring a SPDT switch and less
wire and solder.

Several people have told me that you could just cut both JP1
and JP2 and put a SPST switch on JP1. This is even simpler,
but I'm not sure it really works, as opposed to putting your
machine in an intermediate state that only sort-of works.

The redesigned Genesis 2 machines don't appear to have either
the capacitor or circuit. Nobody yet knows how to make the
language switch for one, though there are language switch
cartridges you can buy to act as one.

IF YOUR MACHINE HAS NO CAPACITOR (or if you want to cross
your fingers and throw away your capacitor) and is not a
Genesis 2:

Cut JP2. The trace might be covered with paint and hard to
see. (If you started with a Mega Drive, JP2 is open and you
have to cut JP1 instead.) If you aren't sure which end I mean
by "bottom", just check the back of the board to see which
end is connected together.

Original state of machine: After cutting:

JP2 top JP1 top JP2 top JP1 top
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
\ / \ /
\_______/ \_______/
bottom of both bottom of both

Add a SPDT switch which can be in one of two positions:
._ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
. .
. . _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
. . . .
JP2 top JP1 top . .
| | . .
| | _________
| o o |
| \ |
| \ |
| | .
\ / .
\_______/ - - - - - - - - - - - -
bottom of both

._ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
. .
. . _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
. . . .
JP2 top JP1 top . .
| | . .
| | _________
| o o |
| / |
| / |
| | .
\ / .
\_______/ - - - - - - - - - - - -
bottom of both


Cut both sides. (Note: if you started with a Japanese Mega
Drive the capacitor will be on the side labelled X instead)

Original state of machine: After cutting:

JP2 top JP1 top JP2 top JP1 top
| | | |
| | | |
| |
| |
| | |
X | ### X | ###
| ### | ###
| ### | ###
\ / \ /
\_______/ \_______/
bottom of both

add switch which can be in one of two positions:

JP2 top JP1 top
(Connect 2 to 2
| |
and 1 to 1)
| |
2 1 2 1 1 2
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ | o o o o |
| ` | \ \ |
X | ###` ` | \ \ |
| ### ` ` \____o__o____/
| ### ` ` ' '
\ / ` `- - - - -' '
\_______/ ` _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ '
bottom of both

JP2 top JP1 top
(Connect 2 to 2
| |
and 1 to 1)
| |
2 1 2 1 1 2
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ | o o o o |
| ` | / / |
X | ###` ` | / / |
| ### ` ` \____o__o____/
| ### ` ` ' '
\ / ` `- - - - -' '
\_______/ ` _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ '
bottom of both

50/60 hertz switch.

You can build a 50/60 hertz switch on a Genesis/Mega Drive
like a language switch, but using jumpers JP3 and JP4. The
standard setting is 50 in PAL areas such as Europe, and 60 in
NTSC areas like the US and Japan. In the 60 hertz mode, the
game is faster and the screen taller; however, not all TVs
and monitors in Europe can display this mode.

Some American/Japanese games are protected to keep Europeans
from playing them; this protection checks the 50/60 hertz
setting. You can usually get around it by installing the
switch and switching when starting the game, then switching
back afterwards.

Many European games are simple ports of American or Japanese
games and are not redesigned for 50 hertz, so work faster and
with "better" screen proportions if played at 60 hertz.

Genesis/Mega Drive dual version (language switch) list:

*Battle Mania 2: The game plays in both positions. However
with both controlers removed, a system info screen appears
which informs about system version, langauge mode.
Bonanza Brothers: Game plays in Japanese. (Maybe. There
seems to be more than one version floating around.)
Columns: Game plays in Japanese.
*Cyberball: Japanese version has a modem option.
Dragon's Fury: Works only with language set to English.
The original, Devil's Crush MD, works either way.
Dynamite Duke: Harder on the Mega Drive.
Elemental Master: Harder on the Mega Drive.
Fatal Labyrinth: Game plays in Japanese.
Fire Shark: Different title screen with Kanji.
Flicky: Characters have Japanese names and instructions
are in Japanese.
Forgotten Worlds: Game plays in Japanese.
Gaiares: only mentions the Japanese licensee on the title
screen, and has Japanese text; you can also select
Japanese text from the option screen.
Ghostbusters: Game plays in Japanese.
Ghouls and Ghosts: Different title screen with Kanji. To
see it on a Genesis, select the last music and sound (26
and 56) from the options screen, then press lower left;
A, B, or C; and Start all at the same time. (I never
tried this, but Gamepro magazine claimed it works.) The
game shows some other Japanese text, and when you die
during a boss you start out earlier.
Insector X: Title screen refers to company as Hot-B, not
Sage's Creation. The MD version shoots more slowly. The
ending text is still English.
*Marvel Land: The Japanese version says "for Mega Drive"
or "for Genesis" but the language stays Japanese. (What
does an English version do?)
Monaco GP: Game plays in Japanese (also an option on the
option screen).
Mystic Defender: This game is actually the anime-based
Kujaku-Ou (Peacock King) 2 game. In Japanese mode, the
opening text is replaced by a graphics screen (never
seen in the US version) with Japanese. The levels have
names, the main character wears a white robe, the
lightning magic effect is different, and the character
is named Kujaku in the ending (which is still English).
Outrun: The attract mode lacks sound, the startup screen
says "push" (not "press") start button, and "(C) Sega
1986, 1991" is printed in reverse order. The default
options are KM/H and a different button selection (but
can still be changed on the option screen).
Quackshot: Game plays in Japanese.
Raiden Trad: The "licensed to Sega" line is absent on
both title screens, and the second title screen includes
only the Japanese part instead of the non-Japanese part
of the first one.
Revenge of Shinobi: Title changes to Super Shinobi;
credits show at the end.
Rolling Thunder II: The Japanese version only works on a
Japanese setting. The US version works either way (and
isn't bilingual).
Sonic the Hedgehog II: Tails is renamed to "Miles".
Streets of Rage: Title screen changes to Bare Knuckle,
and all text is in Japanese, including the introduction.
The clock resets when you encounter the bosses.
Streets of Rage II: Turns to Bare Knuckle II, and renames
Skate to Sammy --_if_ you change the setting sometime
after turning the machine on (to skip the lockout).
Thunder Force II: Title screen has "MD" on it, and
company name is "Tecnosoft".
Thunder Force III: company's name is spelled "Tecnosoft".
*Thunder Storm FX (CD): Turns to Cobra Command in US mode.
Truxton: Japanese title is Tatsujin.
Twin Hawk: Different title screen with Kanji.
*Wrestle War: The wrestler is blond on a Genesis and
black-haired on a MD.

* Information from testing a Japanese game

Can I add a territory switch and/or 50Hz/60Hz switch to my Genesis/Mega
Drive 2?

Yes, although the territory switch will be a bit more difficult than
with the Genesis 1. 

A document (with pictures that can't be duplicated here) on modifying 
your Genesis 2 to add a 50Hz/60Hz switch is available at Sega Xtreme:

A document (with yet more pretty pictures) on adding a territory
switch to a Genesis 2 is available on Mike Gordon's site:

VI. Sega CD

From the Sega CD FAQ by Barry Cantin:

Q: Is it possible to play foreign CDs on my Sega CD/Mega CD?
A: Yes, but...

If you insert a foreign CD into your Sega CD (remember, there are three
nationalities of Sega CDs here: European, Japanese, and U.S.), you will
not be able to load it. The reason for this is that a "nationality"
lockout code is on each Sega CD and Mega CD unit. This assures
(without outside help) that a particular CD will only be playable on
its particular system.
There is a way around this lock-out code. There are cartridges
available that plug directly into the Genesis slot that allow foreign
CDs to be used by any system.

[The Lockout Chip]

The Sega CD unit had a specially designed BIOS chip/security program
that prevented the unit from reading CD games intended for other
markets (US, Japanese, European), such as Japanese or European CDs on a
U.S. machine, and vice-versa. This Lockout chip or BIOS information
instructed the CD unit to read the CD and look for a certain
file/security identifier that indicated that the CD was authorized for
use on the system.

To work around this, the folks at Datel designed the Pro CD-X and
Pro CD-X Plus.

Pro CD-X (and Pro CD-X Plus)

This is a special cartridge that plugs into the Genesis in the cart
slot and overrides the security commands of the Sega CD. This allows
you to play any Sega CD or Mega CD title on any Sega CD or Mega CD
system of a different origin. However, it wasn't 100% effective - not
all games were compatible with this unit, making its appeal very

During Sega's redesign of the Genesis and CD system, they improved the
Bios to prevent this cartridge from working.


This cartridge looks like a regular Genesis cartridge and has better
success with compatibility than its predecessors. When the Sega CD
is powered up with this cart in place, it's possible to run the
Sega CD via the options screen (select "CD-ROM"). The reset
button does NOT open the Sega CD tray (first model), you have to
do that via the options screen as well.

CD+PLUS does not work with the 32X installed.

Japanese CDs known to work successfully with CD+PLUS:
F-1 Circus CD
Final Fight CD
Heavenly Symphony
Prince of Persia
Sega Classics Arcade Collection (4-in-1)
Silky Lip
Sol Feace
Super League CD
Thunder Storm

Known NOT to work with CD+PLUS:
Black Hole Assault
Heavy Nova

Known NOT to work with Pro CD-X:
Ranma 1/2

Secondary security lockout Bypass -
This is the option to using one of the above carts. It is possible
to build your own switch onto the back of the Sega CD. It requires
rewiring two transistors, indicating US or Japan (no idea how
European Sega CDs would work with this). No details are available
in this FAQ.

VII. Third-party Genesis/Sega CD consoles

JVC X'Eye/Wondermega

From The Scribe:

"- Both of JVC's consoles have rectangular cartridge ports with NO
tabs. No adaptor is needed to fit Jap/Euro MegaDrive carts - they work
as described in the FAQ. For example, I tried four different well-
known Jap carts (the only ones I had) - Nadia no Fushugi no Umi, Madoh
Monogatari, Jantei Monogatari, and Phantasy Star MD - and all four ran
on my X'Eye with nary a hitch. I also ran the PAL version of Barkley:
Shut Up and Jam with no problem.
- There is a country protection cart port hack for the JVC X'Eye by
Flavio that I posted here a while back. Dunno if it works, though. I
don't have any hardware hack for the Sega CD side of the system.
- Both of JVC's consoles have their own unique BIOS which does not
work with any of the Sega CD converter carts, or so I'm told. They
won't work with the Datel Action Replay Pro CD-X, that's for sure - it
says that the system's BIOS version isn't supported."

Pioneer LaserActive

From The Scribe: 

"- Pioneer's MegaDrive module is J/NTSC. Its cart port is square, like the
WonderMega - NO tabs. When installed, the system functions exactly as a
combination Japanese MegaDrive/Mega CD would under similar
circumstances. I have actually had hands-on experience with a unit
configured like this and was throwing older U.S. Genesis carts in and
out of the cart port without any apparent problem."

VIII. Appendix

Who made these Game Genie codes? And how?

I did. I can't take credit for originally hacking the territory
protection out of the games; that goes to the dumpers/hackers/scenesters
originally responsible for dumping and hacking these games way back when
(Jarre and TSD are among them). What I did was to compare the correct
ROM dumps of the games with the protection in place with the dumps of
the hacked versions, find where the program code was changed to bypass
the protection, and convert the hex addresses of these modifications
into Game Genie codes. In the process I gained some understanding of
how the protection was implemented by the programmers of these games,
knowledge I plan to use to find codes for games that have not yet been
hacked to my knowledge, such as Super Street Fighter II JPN, Gunstar
Heroes JPN, Mega Man: The Wily Wars EUR, Vampire Killer, and so on.

IX. Thanks

Major mad props go out to:

Ken Arromdee (, for the* FAQ.
Barry Cantin (, for his excellent Sega Genesis and
Sega CD FAQs.
Stéphane Dallongeville (, for Gens,
Dave (, for DGen,
Jarre, TSD, and all the other hackers whose ASM mods bypassed
territory protection on many Megadrive games.
Galen Tatsuo Komatsu (, for corrections 
and additions on the Datel cartridges
Merlyn LeRoy (, for figuring out the Genesis Game
Genie code format.
Motorola, for the entire 68000 series of processors and their
excellent MC68000 manual.
The Scribe, for information on the X'Eye and LaserActive
Sega, for making such an awesome console.
Bart Trzynadlowski (, for GROM.

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