Legend of Link Repro tutorial – Famicom

Recently, I stumbled upon a fantastic hack for the Famicom/NES. After playing the games for several hours in an emulator I decided to build a cartridge for it to play the game on the actaual hardware.

The hack is called “Zelda – The Legend of Link”, made by infidelity.
You can find a lot of info and behind the scenes insights in the official thread: Click!

In this post I’ll show how I built the cartridge. If you got any questions feel free to ask me!

Step 1 – Download the ROM und patch it

I downloaded the ROM file from a dubious site and patched it with “famirom”. I won’t go into detail how to do this, since it’s covered by about a thousand tutorials before 😉 One pretty neat feature of famirom is the splitting of the PRG- und CHR-part of the ROM.

Step 2 – Find a suitable donor

This was tricky. The hack needs a MMC5-mapper which wasn’t used that often by official cartridges. Furthermore, the donor needs 32kb SRAM for savegames. Sure, you could search a MMC5-cartridge and solder in bigger SRAM, but I wasn’t in the mood for that 😀

So these are the suitable donors:

The games are called:

  • Nobunaga no Yabou: Bushou Fuuunroku 信長の野望 武将風雲録
  • Aoki Ookami to Shiroki Mejika: Genchou Hishi 蒼き狼と白き牝鹿元朝秘史
  • Sangokushi II 三國志Ⅱ

They’re about 20€ each. Not that cheap – but hey, the hack is worth it!

Step 3 – Prepare the dono

Do you hate bulging and cracking famicom cartridges? Yeah, me too. But no worries, these cartridges are held together by four screws (3.5mm gamebit). So they’re easy to pop open.

Next step: Localize the PRG- and CHR-MASKROMs and desolder them. The battery was flat so I desoldered it, too.

Neat: They printed the location of the CHR- and PRG-MASKROM to the pcb. That prevents mixing up the next step 😉

Step 4 – Get EPROMs and burn the hack to it

Bummer, fitting (1MB) EPROMs are expensive, 15€ a pop!
So I went looking for an alternative and stumbled upon the 29F080.

Since the 29F080 got a TSOP40 package I’d to make an adapter.

If you are planning to do this repro you can fetch the adapter here: Click!

The adapter does the rewiring. So I’d to solder the 29F080 to it and solder the adapter 1:1 to the donor.

But before doing that I wrote the PRG- and CHR-Parts to the chips like this:

This is my trsuty TL866CD-Programmer with a TSOP40 8bit-Adapter.

Next step is soldering the two adapters and a new battery to the donor.

 Step 5 – Enjoy!

Close the cartridge shell, jam the game into your console and enjoy the game. It’s awesome.

Step 6 – Print a label!

To finish the repro a label is a must. I just had an image file printed and stuck it to the cartridge.

You can download the label image right here!


… have fun!

5 thoughts on “Legend of Link Repro tutorial – Famicom

  1. Jon

    How do you solder the adapters? It doesn’t look like they have pins.
    Also, do you solder the chips onto the adapters, or do they just fit on top of them?

    1. jensma Post author

      Hi Jon!
      I solder in the flash chips first. They actually do have solder pads, but they are right under the IC’s pins. They are pretty tiny 🙂
      After that, I solder the adapter onto the pcb.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.