Gradius III for SNES can now be played without slowdowns

Gradius III for SNES is an awesome game, but its critics always had the same thing to say about it: it has some serious slowdown issues. It has never really been a problem for most fans, I personally find them great because they make the game a lot easier. But there’s no denying that this was not the original design meant by its developers, because it’s caused by hardware limitations and not intentional CPU throttling, and it would be nice to see how different the game would have been without these issues.

Well, Vitor Vilela, a friendly hacker from Brazil, has managed to patch the game in order to make use of the Super Accelerator 1 (SA1) chip and stop these slowdowns from happening, given that this chip is about four times faster than the normal SNES CPU (10.74 MHz vs 3.58 MHz). This is the same chip that Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars uses, for example.

Here’s a useful comparison of the original version vs the hacked fixed version of Gradius III:

Gradius III original vs SA-1 enhanced version

How to play this version of the game?

It’s very easy, actually, if you already have a ROM copy of the game available (you’ll have to find that yourself, though).

First you have to go to this link and download the TUSH utility to make sure the game is not headered (don’t worry too much about what this means). Run it and find your Gradius 3 ROM file. If it says the ROM is headered, just click OK and then click on the Remove Header button.

Now you need to download the patch from Vitor’s repository (the patch.bps file), here.

Next, download the beat utility from this link, run it and click on the Apply Patch button. It will first ask you for the patch.bps file, then for the Gradius 3.smc ROM file and finally for a place to save your newly patched file.

You’re done! This part was a classic slowdown scene right here, going on smooth as silk now:

Gradius III first stage with no more slowdown on the big dragon scene
Gradius III first stage with no more slowdown on the big dragon scene

Now enjoy your ROM file with Snes9x or get it inside your SNES Mini and play the new Gradius III experience. A heed of warning, though, it’s a lot harder on the parts that used to have a slowdown! It was a nice handicap, actually…

Published by Alekz

Alekz is the admin of the Gradius Core community, he loves everything Gradius and wants everyone to know how awesome those games are... so here we are! He also has a YouTube channel where he blabbers all about videogames in general. He's a cool guy, you should check him out ;)

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1 Comment

  1. Except it does’t for me because I can’t get it to work. I’ve followed all the steps above and it works on my emulator on PC, but when I try to load and run the same file on my SNES mini it doesn’t work and just comes up with an error. Any ideas?

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