(Speaking of the the Capcom Play System, it's abbreviated as CPS and should not to be mistaken for Capcom CPS Changer. There have been three major revision of them, CPS-1, CPS-2 and CPS-3 . The latter doesn’t have many games and isn’t supported on Windows Mobile).
Up until recently, it has been pretty impossible to emulate these platforms under Windows Mobile (WM for short). If you read the only related (and highly outdated) article at pdagameguide.com, dated back to 2003, you’ll see emulating NeoGeo was pretty much impossible then – all you could do is running NeoGeo Pocket Color games, which, being made for a not very powerful handheld platform, aren’t as sophisticated as desktop NeoGeo titles and should, therefore, not be preferred over the desktop versions. (Let alone their emulators being pretty outdated and incapable; for example, NeoPocott v0.38b R1 (also see THIS) hasn’t received any update for over six years!)
Pretty recently, well-known Windows Mobile coder Masterall has released the WM port of FinalBurn Alpha, the first emulator for WM that does deliver excellent emulation capabilities and SUPERIOR speed. And it’s free – as with the ROM images themselves. Finally, in addition to emulating NeoGeo and CPS-1/2, it’s also capable of running Toaplan and Cave games.
Masterall also has some other ports he can be VERY proud of. Picodrive, for example, is the best Genesis (Sega Mega Drive) emulator I've ever seen (I’ll elaborate on Genesis emulation in a later article). He’s also the author of pocketGBAdvance, a GBA emulator, of which he’s promising a usable version very soon.
All in all, he’s pretty much comparable to the other “big” names of emulator porters like n0p (Genesis Plus/Pocket PC, PocketSNES, DOSBox and Stratagus), PocketInsanity (PocketUAE) or Sunbug.net (PocketGBA).
In addition to the related pdagameguide.com article being completely outdated, I’ve decided to write an all-in-one guide on these questions because the related information currently available is very hard to digest for a non-professional Windows Mobile geek. Hope this guide will help a LOT.
Why do I recommend this emulator and these games? Why should you bother?
- the emulator runs just GREAT on most current hardware, even with sound
- even the most CPU-intensive games run OK (with enabled sound!) on the (for gaming) best, fastest current handhelds (Dell Axim x51v, for example)
- the games are available for free
- many of the games are MUCH better than anything else (comparable, in the same genre) on Windows Mobile. Very few native Windows Mobile games (for example SKY FORCE Reloaded is the only comparable title, as far as, say, 1942 clones are concerned)
- if you do follow this guide, you can run these games REALLY easily - I've tried to explain it really clearly how the emulator must be configured, where to download games from, what games to get and so on
Difference between NeoGeo and the two CPS versions
Unfortunately, the NeoGeo emulation (as of the recent, 0.008 build is concerned) is certainly less featureful than that of emulating CPS games. Therefore, you will always want to check out whether a particular title is available as a CPS game and if and only if it isn’t switch to the NeoGeo version. Note that the developer has been promising fixing these problems very soon.
The problems with the NeoGeo emulation are as follows:
- with NeoGeo games, it’s not possible to save / load game states, unlike with CPS games. This is a big problem if you would like to continue your game after exiting FinalBurn
- auto fire doesn’t work with them either (while it worked with all CPS games I’ve tested)