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ePSXe preview

A new emulator called ePSXe has been making the rounds as of late. Being announced without any great announcements and after half a year of development, Galtor, calb and _Demo_ certainly did a great job with this emulator. But enough babbeling, see for yourself !

After unzipping, downloading the plugins, copying the PSX BIOS (yes, I own a real PSX so I'm allowed to own that one) into the correct directories, I started ePSXe for the first time and came to the screen you can see on the left (click to enlarge it). The options in the menu bar are File, Runs, Config, Options and Cheats. The point requiring most work most properly is config. Why ? Well, ePSXe uses, as many emus as of late, the popular PSEmu Pro plugins system, which already provides it with long time tested plugins for graphic, sound and CD-Rom input. For our test, we used Pete's D3D plugin for the graphics, Pete's MIDAS SPU plugin for sound and the cdrTsgMSCD.dll file for the CD-Rom !

I don't want to list all the options you can configure here now, but belive me, there're plenty to mess around and optimize the emulator. If you aren't interrested in configuring them, Pete's plugin all contain buttons for best or fastest performance, which do their job pretty well.

Another interresting button is cheat. This button isn't meant for cheating, the ePSXe team suggests you to use [pec] instead of that option. Is it meant to get games running, which normally would crash the emulator because of some type like mod protection or anything else like that.

Well, time to insert a PSX game and to click on File, which shows 4 more options : Run CDROM, Run BIOS, Run ISO and Run PSX EXE (and exit, but this isn't of interrest right now =P). The option most other emus also provide is Run CDROM. It starts a game from the previously configured CD-Rom drive. When clicking Run BIOS, you'll get to the memory card screen where you can move / delete single savegames from your memory card. A function no emulator has directly implemented yet, is the Run ISO function. You select a bin from your HD and it starts is if you'd have the CD in the drive. Very useful function indeed !

Time to configure the controller. ePSXe comes with a fairly well default setting, but you can change it to whatever you want to, like seen in the screenshot. You just need to click in one of the empty fields, press the key you want to assign and voila, there you go.

During my test, it worked well with the Smartjoy adapter which was assigned as a normal 12 button controller in windows, and it should work with any joypad of your choice as well : Thumb up for ePSXe ! Of course, it also comes along with 2 player support, so you can run through the same configuration procedure for the second player. It's very easy to setup any controler and I was ready to get some 2 player action within less than 2 minutes. Surely an option some other emulators should take a look at !

And now, it's PLAY TIME of course. Don't get afraid of all the setup procedures mentioned above : It took me less than 10 minutes to get everything set up properly (including the download of the necessary plugins !) My testing system is an Athon 800 with a V5 5500 card, FSAA totally switched of for perfect speed. I'll try to take some screenshots later with my Geoforce2 card, but due to cooling problems, this wasn't possible as of now (one of my coolers got damaged).

The great thing is : Right before this preview has been written, the ePSXe team sent out another beta version, which played a game many of you have been looking forward to : Gran Tourismo 2 ! Before you get into to much of an hurry yet, you need a fairly FAST PC to play it at a descent speed (a PII 350 plays the game at about 10 FPS, double the amount is necessary). It also seems, as if only the PAL version of GT2 is playable, but I can't verify this yet ... we'll have to see. But enough talking, here're some nice shots (thanks JNS !) Click on them to get the full 800x600 shots !


Pretty amazing shots IMO ... Anyway, let's continue testing. The next game I inserted was Parasite Eve 2, which didn't even started. Okay, next game ... How about Tomorrow never dies. Bleem! crashes when starting this game, so let's see how ePSXe performs. Hmm, getting past loading screen and to the main menu. Let's try a quick game, start. Hmm, loading screen and ... WAU ! I'm in the game. Speed's VERY nice, just the MDEC's aren't playing perfect, but that's a common problem ePSXe still has. A hint someone should always keep in mind is to switch off the CDDA sound, since that one extremly slows down the emu. But okay, here're some more screens of this game :


Well, we could do this with hundreds of games now, but I think this should give you a picture of this great emu. According to our sources, we should see a release of it very soon, so keep your eyes on our page as we'll always keep you up to date on the happenings.

When this emu keeps getting updated, it'll become better than bleem! one day, I'm pretty sure. (that is, when bleem! keeps on not releasing updates any more). You can find the official ePSXe page at http://www.epsxe.com !

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