This page contains various informations about X-Terminator cartridge for Saturn.
Many thanks to AtariBorn for sharing informations about his X-Terminator cartridge, and Xrider for additional informations regarding X-Assist Also, many thanks to Darius for a lot of miscellaneous help .
X-Terminator and X-Assist
Picture borrowed from Sega Retro
X-Terminator is a cartridge for Saturn. At the time it was sold, it was the "ultimate" cartridge for Saturn, with basically all features from Action Replay, plus the ability to search for cheat codes while game is running.
X-Terminator cartridge has two major hardware revisions, named X-Terminator 2 and X-Terminator 3.
This page focuses on X-Terminator 3 simply because of the lack of information regarding X-Terminator 2. Volunteers to take their cartridges in picture, scan manuals, etc are welcome
List of features :
- In-game Save Backup Memory. (*1)
- 1 MB / 4 MB expansion RAM.
- Cheat codes support.
- In-game cheat codes search via X-Assist unit.
- Game region bypass.
(*1) 128 KB of cartridge's flash ROM are used for Backup Save Data. That's 4 times the size of Saturn's internal backup memory, and 1/4 the size of official Backup Memory Cartridge's capacity.
Except very specific games using very large saves (example : Dezaemon 2), 128 KB is enough for playing. Main problem is that frequently erasing and writing to cartridge's flash memory prematurely shortens its lifelength, and consequently may brick the cartridge.
Cartridge also features a genesis-like connector at its top. Purpose of this connector is not documented, and (as far I know) it doesn't exists any device to plug in this connector.
A brief look at the cartridge PCB shows that address and data lines from Saturn are routed to this connector, so nearly anything is possible from this connector : extra RAM addition, more ROM, etc.
It would be interesting to see if data and address lines are assigned to same pins as in genesis, which would give some hints regarding the purpose of this connector. (This will be checked later)
Brief description of X-Terminator's cartridge hardware. Basically, its architecture is similar to Action Replay's, without PC link interface, and with the addition of I/O for X-Assist unit.
Placement of ICs and their routing is however very different and all their clones. I personally find this routing a bit weird, but that's probably because I'm not yet accustomed to it
Why unusual placement of ICs ? My guess is that X-Terminator's cartridge top connector is requiring such placement of ICs. Well, placement of ICs is sometimes a choice let to PCB designer, so it may vary to everyone's tastes
X-Terminator PCB, components side
X-Terminator PCB, solder side
Brief description of X-Assist hardware.
LCD board reference is WM-C1602M-1GNNb. I couldn't find datasheet for this module, but similar LCD (WM-C1602M-1GNNb : one line vs two lines in X-Assist) from same manufacturer is detailed in its datasheet.
Pad and LCD interface board uses only standard chips, making it relatively easy to reverse-engineer
The PCB schematic can be found below, so that it's possible to build of fix your X-Assist. Special thanks to Xrider for the reverse engineering and providing the schematics
X-Assist schematic, by Xrider
D.I.Y. X-Assist on breadboard
Great work by Xrider
X-Assist pad, front side
X-Assist pad, back side
X-Assist connector pins assignment
X-Assist pad, back side
(Detail around connector)
X-Assist LCD, front side
X-Assist LCD, back side
This section contains scans of X-Terminator 3 User Manual (high-resolution PDF available here) as well as English translation for it.
Translation notes :
- This is a free (not literal) translation, but I did my best in order to be as close as possible to original contents.
- Japanese isn't my mother tongue. English isn't too. And this was made on my free time. So don't blame me if it isn't correctly translated.
- Both "裏技コード" and "改造コード" terms are used in the Japanese manual. From my personal understanding, both refers to "cheat code", hence both are translated into "cheat code".
- Any help regarding translation is welcome. I can be reached from my contact page.
02 ... Introduction
03 ... X-Terminator connection and startup
04 ... Explanations for each menus
11 ... About Master Code
13 ... About Cheat Code
15 ... How to play SNK games
16 ... Hexadecimal table
or direct save feature. There are no warranty regarding data being lost or altered.
Thank you for your understanding.
(Will translate this page later, maybe)
1. X-Terminator connection and startup
top cartridge connector. After having verified that it is correctly
inserted, turn Saturn's power ON. After a short while, X-Terminator's
title screen and main menu will be displayed.
2. Description of each parts
(1) Enhanced features switch :
When set in top position, enhanced features are disabled, and when set in bottom
position, enhanced features are enabled.
(2) Enhanced features lamp :
Lights when enhanced features are enabled.
(4) Cursor keys :
Moves cursor, scrolls codes, and also allows to select comparison method
when searching codes.
(5) Confirm key.
(6) Cancel key.
(7) Mode selection key :
Allows to switch between the following modes : Search, History, Restart
and Result Display.
(8) Cheat code ON/OFF key :
Turns ON/OFF cheat code from result screen.
3. Explanations for each menus
Please select one item from the following ones :
Normal Game (ノーマルゲーム)
■ Normal Game (ノーマルゲーム)
Starts the game without applying any cheat code.
After X-Terminator checks disk, please select "Game Start" (ゲームスタート) item
in order to start the game.
※ "Universal feature" (ユニバーサル機能（自動）) allows to play import games. This feature
is also available when playing enhanced game.
■ Cheat Code Select (裏技コード選択)
In order to avoid manual input of cheat codes, many cheat codes are pre-installed in X-Terminator.
※ Quantity as well as contents of pre-installed cheat codes varies from a X-Terminator
Example : "Virtua Cop 1P/2P unlimited bullets" cheat code :
1. Select "Enhanced Game" (かいぞうゲーム) from main screen.
is required in order to get cheat codes working correctly.
■ Register New Cheat Code
In order to use cheat code not pre-installed, or in order to enhance new game, it is
possible to register new cheat code as described below.
Example : "Virtua Fighter 2, energy doesn't decrease" cheat code :
1. Select enhanced game (かいぞうゲーム) from main screen.
※ In name input screen, it is possible to switch character type between
alphabet, hiragana and katakana with X button.
※ When returning to main menu after entering code, X-Terminator asks to save code or not.
Please select "Save" (セーブする) if you want to save it in order not to have to re-enter it
on next time.
■ Cheat Code Search
● Before performing search
Before performing code search, please connect search unit to X-Terminator cartridge,
and after verifying that Saturn is turned off, plug X-Terminator cartridge into
Saturn's top cartridge slot. Then turn on Saturn.
● Enhanced features lamp (green LED on cartridge left side) should turn on. If not, please
set Enhanced features switch to ON.
● "Saturn X-TERMINATOR" (サターンX-TERMINATOR) is displayed on search unit's LCD.
If Saturn and X-Terminator are behaving as described in the 3 points above,
then X-Terminator is connected correctly. If X-Terminator seems not working
correctly, please turn off your Saturn and restart setup from first step.
● Search with value using Search Unit (dedicated pad)
This is the most used way in order to search cheat code. Numerical values displayed
on game screen are searched. For example in RPG : searching for level, HP, MP, XP
can be easily done with this feature. It can also be useful in shooting games in order
to search for lives count or extra tricks count, etc.
Example : search for "Virtua Cop 2, unlimited bullets" cheat code :
1. Turn off Saturn.
For this example, please set 6 remaining bullets on game side, and enter 6 on search unit side.
12. "Press confirmation button for first input" (１カイメ トリコミ ケッテイキーヲ オシテクダサイ)
screen is then displayed. Please press confirmation (決定) key in order to confirm. If entered
value is not correct, it is possible to press Cancel (キャンセル) button in order to return to
13. After "Read Finished" (トリコミ シュウリョウ) screen is displayed, verify number of candidate
values and then press confirmation (決定) button.
14. On game side, fire one bullet in order to set remaining count to 5.
15. In "Second Switch Select" (２カイメ スイッチ センタク) screen, enter current bullets count,
and then press confirmation (決定) button. With similar steps, it is possible to reduce number
of candidate values until a small enough value is reached.
(In this example, the number of candidates should reach 1 after 2 steps)
16. Press "Mode Select" (モードセレクト) button, and then select "Results" (リザルト) to show results
for code searchs done so far.
The value "16052ED8 0006" should be displayed. With confirmation (決定) key, it is possible
to change address or value for the code.
※ In order to try the code, please change data value of the code from 00006 to 0005.
After that, press confirmation (決定) key in order to exit edit mode. Care is needed about
format of data field, because it is in hexadecimal. So for example it is required to enter
000A value to set it to 10.
17. Press "Code ON/OFF" (コードON/OFF) button in order to enable cheat codes. When enabled,
ON (オン) is displayed near selected cheat code. It is possible to try several cheat codes
with Up and Down keys.
※ Remark : the count of codes that can be enabled simultaneously is limited to 4.
18. Let's fire a bullet to try the code : if everything went correctly, bullet count
should remain to 5.
※ Warning : codes found with search unit are wiped out on Saturn power off. So please
write down codes somewhere before turning off Saturn.
● Search with difference using Search Unit
This is a widely used search mode for setting vitality in fighting games or energy in action games.
When it is not possible to search code by using value, then this is the only solution to search codes.
This an "all-purpose" search mode, but with the inconvenient to require time and labour.
other hand, this way of searching may take 10 or even 30 more iterations to find a code.
Example : search for "Virtua Fighter 2, vitality gauge doesn't decreases" cheat code :
1. Turn off Saturn.
Down : same as before (マエト オナジ).
with unreasonably large value because this may make the game not working correctly.
After getting confortable with this search technic, don't hesitate to develop your own one.
■ Dead Code
Dead code allow some kind of high-grade features not achievable with regular cheat code.
Theses allow batch setting of several items with a single command, or some kind of other
unique features. Theses require to have master code (the same used with regular cheat codes)
to be set, and then are specified from Dead Code 1 (デッドコード１). When code input is finished,
press Start button to start the game.
※ For more informations, please refer to "About Dead Codes" section.
(Translation note : I couldn't find "About Dead Codes" section in Japanese manual, but I
suppose it refers to page 13)
■ Backup Memory
X-Terminator is equipped with around 2000 blocks of cartridge backup memory. From this,
menu it is possible to either copy or delete backup memory from Saturn internal backup
memory and X-Terminator cartridge backup memory.
Screen is separated in two windows on left and right sides for listing save data on
respectively Saturn internal backup memory and X-Terminator cartridge backup memory.
When copying save data, first select backup source device with left and right arrow keys,
select the save to copy and finally press C pad button so that save data is copied to
window opposite to selected one.
Save data deletion can be done by selecting save with same steps as above and
then pressing Z pad button.
※After copying or deleting save data and then returning to main menu, a save confirmation
dialog is displayed. So in order to save changes, please select "Save" (セーブする) option
in this confirmation dialog.
※The memory block count may differ with the one used in games or Saturn internal
Save Data Manager. Please consider this count as indication only.
● CD Player (CDプレイヤー)
Loads the Saturn internal CD player. After that, please reset your Saturn if you want
to return to X-Terminator.
● Configuraton (コンフィグ)
This allows to modify various settings used in X-Terminator.
● Quick Upgrade (クイックアップグレード)
This is used when connected to PC. It allows fast version up of X-Terminator.
● Self Test (セルフテスト)
Performs system check of X-Terminator.
● Return to Main Menu (メインメニューに戻る)
Returns to main menu.
■ Configuraton (コンフィグ)
● Window Speed (ウインドウ速度)
Toggles window display speed between normal and fast speeds.
● Text Input Type (文字入力タイプ)
Toggles text input type between "Compatible Array" (互換配列) and Japanese Syllabary (50音配列).
● Repeat Speed (リピート速度)
Uses entered value for repeat speed.
● Search Unit (サーチユニット)
Toggles cursor for Search Unit between blinking cursor (点滅カーソール) and V cursor (Vカーソール).
※Entered settings are saved.
4. About Master Code
can be used. In the case the games stops working code search, or if the game freezes when
enabling cheat codes then please try a combination of the codes below.
＜Master Code 1＞
● F-Type Master Code (F6000914 C305, F6000924 C305 etc)
It is usually defined in first row and is the most common kind of master code. It can be
used alone or in combination with B-Type code.
● F-Type Master Code (F6000914 FFFF etc)
This is bit special kind of master code. With it, B-Type of code as well as Dead Code
can't be used.
● E-Type Master Code (E0000040 0000, E0000041 0000, E0000047 0000 etc)
It provides game interrupt to allow cheat codes and code search for games not supporting
F-Type master code. It can be used in pair with B-Type code.
＜Master Code 2＞
● B-Type Master Code (B6002800 0000, B6000440 0000, B02FFC00 0000 etc)
It is usually defined in second row when used in pair with F-Type or E-Type code.
〇 Usage example :
Master Code line 1 : E0000040 C305
Master Code line 2 : B6002800 0000
5. About Cheat Codes
● Program Mode
Entering "DEADCODE 0000" in the first row enables program mode. In that case, the program
to execute is set in from second row. In addition, as program commands are entered and executed
row by row (3 commands), it is necessary to fill unused end of row with 0009 (nop) command.
＜Example＞ Increase time in NiGHTs
Master Code :
Dead Code :
(Translation note : See the picture above to see what assembly listing looks like)
● Continous Word Write Mode
The following syntax allows to fill word-addressed memory range :
＜Start Address＞ ＜Start Write Data＞
＜End Address＞ ＜End Write Data＞
＜Example＞ Fill memory range with 9999 value every two bytes.
Normal Code :
Dead Code equivalent :
The following syntax allows to fill byte-addressed memory range :
＜Start Address＞ ＜Start Write Data＞
＜End Address＞ ＜End Write Data＞
Remark : address upper digit must be set to "3"
＜Example＞ Fill memory range with 99 value every bytes.
Normal Code :
Dead Code equivalent :
● About Bytes and Words
Byte and word are units used when handling data. One "byte" can contain data between 0 and 255
and consequently is not sufficient to express experience points or money etc. So in the case one
byte is not enough, two bytes are used together, which is named a "word" and can express data
between 0 and 65535.
Because of that, care must be taken about level, item or other data that can be expressed in
bytes, whose search won't match when searching in word unit. In that case, it is a good idea to
do a search in byte unit.
By the way, the first digit (from left) of address for codes accessing words and bytes is
"1" and "3" respectively. Also, some codes may work for both word and bytes.
Let's explain with "unlimited bullets" code for Virtua Cop 2 as an example :
Data is the number of bullets. If it is set to "2" then the number of bullets is forced to 2.
But, in computer world as it is common to start counting from zero, it may display 3 instead
Address is the place where data is stored. In this example, the number of bullets is stored
at place 16052ED8, which is set to the value 6. As a consequence, the number of bullet is 6.
6. How to play SNK games
● Expansion RAM feature
1. Plug X-Terminator cartridge into Saturn's top cartridge slot, then turn on Saturn.
※ When enabling this feature, cheat codes can't be used. Also, supported memory capacity
is limited to 1MB.
When trying to save cheat codes after entering or modifying or deleting them, error messages
such as "X-Terminator is not correctly connected", or "Flash memory write error" may be
displayed. Main causes of these error messages is cartridge socket (on Saturn) or cartridge
connector (of X-Terminator) being dirty, or an improper connection with the Saturn.
To solve this problem, please don't turn off your Saturn and try to push A button several
times until successing save operation. If it doesn't works after many tries, then don't turn
off your Saturn and try to re-seat your X-Terminator cartridge in its socket and eventually
clean up the cartridge connector if required. In order to not loose cheat codes data, please
perform those operations without turning off your Saturn.
To do cleanup of cartridge connector, please apply appropriate cleaning agent or alcohol on
the connector and then wipe it by using a Q-tip.
If the operations above don't work, please contact the service center.
Simplified Chart for Hexadecimal
then wikipedia is probably a good place for that.
And if not already done, you may also want to know what binary is about. It may look
a bit difficult, but it's funny and even allows to count up to 1023 with only your two hands
Translator's note : as of today (July 2020), company seems still here, but without suprise
X-Terminator is not available in their products lineup.
Company moved to a new address, so please ignore the one indicated in original
Japanese document. And telephone number seems to connect to a dental office which
may not be any kind of help regarding X-Terminator or about video game peripherals.
That's the same for the fax number which seems to connect now with a fashion shoes shop.
Don't call there except if you're located around Fukuoka and Madam wants new shoes