Final Cartridge iii+


The “Final Cartridge 3” is a cartridge, which can be operated on the Expansion port of the C64 or the C128.  It provides over 60 new functions to the C64-user (e.g. BASIC-ExtensionFastloader and -saver for the 1541 with an acceleration factor of 10, FreezerMonitor). Additionally there is a graphical user interface (Desktop) with windows (similar to GEM or Windows). From the hardware there is a Reset– and a Freezer-Function. 

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turbo cartridge for Commodore 64.

It was similar to Action Replay Mk VI, the leading cool turbo cartridge of the day, but it was very much different.

It was developed in 1987 by Riska B.V. Home & Personal Computers. (Somewhere in Europe - Netherlands?)

What makes it interesting? First, when you turn on the machine, you will be greeted by GUI. That's right - a desktop with a menu bar on the top, and a pointer controlled either with an Amiga mouse or a joystick. The GUI takes a lot of look and feel from AmigaOS 1.x - don't expect anything too fancy =)

The GUI has following tools:

  • Quick exit to BASIC, either to extended basic or through "FINAL KILL" option that attempts to mimic C64 without a cart ("Warning! You are now leaving THE FINAL CARTRIDGE III [SO WHAT?] [CANCEL]"). You can also leave to extended BASIC by keeping RUN/STOP pressed when powering up.
  • Text editor ("Notepad"). The only problem is that it saves and loads text in .prg format with some weird header, I guess.
  • Preferences for desktop and BASIC (never bothered with these because they aren't saved anywhere...)
  • Calculator
  • Disk and Tape utilities boxes. The Disk box is pretty cool. It has the Fast Format option - formats disks as fast as AR6, I guess. Also, the directory lists (can open dirs from 3 floppies simultaneously!) allow you to rearrange files on disk and also add lines to directory listing to separate files. It has one feature that normal DOS doesn't have at all - Change Diskname.
  • Alarm clock. (Not a Pure Alarm killer, I'm afraid...)

It ain't GEOS, but it's cool when it does that fast format =)

The GUI also had ability to load different tools to it from disk (DLink from Project menu). Regrettably, nothing was released, but some people have written tools for TFCIII desktop later on.

The extended BASIC is pretty nice. Of course, the only real things to remeber are DSAVE/DLOAD - 15x turboed save and load for disk, and no need to say ,8,1 either! - and DOS" that lets you give disk commands. Function keys help: F1 = LIST, F3 = RUN, F5 = DLOAD, F7 = DOS"$ (disk catalogue). Holding down ctrl slows down listing, arrows can scroll BASIC listing up and down (very neat!)

And then the Freezer! By using the Freeze button, you can freeze the program execution and mess with stuff. The coolest thing is that you can make a screenshot and dump it to the printer! You can also save program execution state to disk. (Also known as "warezing/backing up single-load games" =) The freezer also has "sprite killer" (make the machine ignore sprite-sprite or sprite-background collisions - modern games didn't care of these checks, they had more sophisticated death calculation methods). It also had joystick swap and autofire things - these worked if they worked.

The cart also had a pretty good machine language monitor and disassembler. It had many different memory display methods; direct character show, disassembly, and coolest of all, sprite and character edit modes! if the games stored different sprites unobscured or uncompressed, this thing was a joy to edit stuff with...

The only real lack was the lack of disk duplication feature - but otherwise, it was just as nice as other turbo cartridges, even better at times.

The manual was pretty Hoono Soomi (that is, the translation was not done by someone with passionate enough knowledge of Finnish). I particularly liked the part that could have been translated back to English as "I hope you will not have mercy for us".

And yes, it suffers from the same problems as Last Ninja and Final Fantasy series =)


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