Game Shark


Review by Joe Santulli


Cheating device

Overall:   Saturn: 9 - PlayStation: 8

I am NOT a cheater by nature. I played the "school game" fair and square, discovering at very young age that “cheaters never prosper” (ie I always got caught). What I’ve learned as a non-cheater is that life can sometimes be very frustrating without all of the answers, you lose a lot more often than you win, and you have to work twice as hard as people who DO cheat. What I also know is that each “win” is ten times more satisfying when you play fair, and each “loss” becomes a learning experience that the cheaters of the world will never get. Somewhere down the road, this makes me a better person.

gamesharkps1.jpg (28869 bytes)Well fuck all of those rules for now. We’re talking video games here. In video games, I wanna be what I can’t be in “real life”. I want to win all of the time, and I don’t care much about character building. I just wanna blow stuff up. How’s a player to get an edge these days with all of the complexity of today’s games? Enter the Game Shark. This little gizmo allows you to store codes that you can later call upon to disable certain features of your games. You want to win? No problem. Just cheat your way to the end. Before I go on though, let me warn you that cheating in video games drastically reduces a game’s replay value. Let’s face it - once you’ve beaten the thing, chances are you aren’t going to go back to do it again. That’s like beating a dead horse (which isn’t much fun, I’ve tried it and it’s nothing without at least a little whinny). So if you’re with me all the way here, you’ll do your best to win with your own skills and when you get stuck the Game Shark will come to your rescue. Use it too soon and it’s curtains for your game’s life expectancy.

There have been other “game aids” in the past. We all remember our beloved Game Genie, don’t we? The Game Genie worked in much the same way except you had to punch in the code every time you wanted to use it. Then there was the Pro Action Replay, which intelligently figured out the codes you needed. That was a nice feature, making the hunt for new codes unnecessary. The downside to that was it sometimes took longer to get at the right code than it did to play the game! The same company that masterminded the Pro Action Replay (Datel) is also the genius behind the Game Shark, although it’s being marketed and produced by Interact. The Game Shark won’t figure out the codes for you, but once you put them in it stores them to its memory. There IS an add-on that lets you hook up to your PC and hack your own codes, but that’s too much work for me. Let someone else figure out the code. You can be sure it will be all over the net as soon as it’s discovered.

The difference between the Saturn and Playstation GS is subtle: The Playstation version plugs into the back of the console and has an on/off switch. When you power up, the GS interface appears and you can choose to go on to the game or select codes instead. There are no “memory card” features. While entering codes I noticed a distinct pause in the system every five seconds or so making entry a bit of a hassle, but you may not even notice unless you put in lots of codes. The Saturn version is cooler. It plugs into the cartridge port and when you power up, the GS interface appears... only this time, you also have a memory manager. The cartridge not only stores codes, but also 20 times more memory than the Saturn has internally, and 5 times more than a back-up memory cartridge. The downside is that the GS memory is usually unrecognized by the games, so you’ll have to copy files from the Saturn's internal memory to the GS and vice versa. It’s a small price to pay for such a versatile device. There’s also none of that lag-time while entering codes.

A minor myth circulating about the GS is that you won’t need to perform a “swap move” or hardware mod to play import games while it’s plugged in. Not true.

Typical applications include unlimited lives, unlimited ammunition, invincibility, and stopping the timer. Some of the better codes “unlock” hidden areas of a game such as the characters in Tekken 2 or the tracks in Jet Moto. I’ve even seen some crazy codes that handicap the player or disallow certain actions (like jumping). I haven’t seen many of the “weird” codes that were common to the Game Genie, like altered graphics, colors, or skills (such as jumping really high). I don’t know if that’s because it’s not possible or just no one cares to find them! Despite this, frustration you’ll avoid owning a Game Shark makes it well worth the investment. I highly recommend it to anyone with limited time and lots of games to conquer!


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Last updated: Sunday, January 22, 2006 07:10 PM