NEC of Japan has had a 32-Bit system in the works for some time now to replace the PC Engine line of hardware (the TurboDuo in America). Now, with the release of the PC-FX, NEC hopes to convert the PC Engine generation over to the world of 32-Bit.
The NEC PC-FX is a different machine than other 32-Bit systems because it doesn't have a specialized polygon processor. This means that games like Virtua Fighter, Daytona U.S.A., and Tekken would be harder to run on the FX. Instead, the PC-FX utilizes JPEG compression technology to display graphics. JPEG is a type of compression that will compress image data better than MPEG (which is used for compressing movies). Even though JPEG is a "heavier" format and takes longer to decompress than MPEG, the PC-FX is so fast that it can decompress still JPEG images at a rate of 30 frames per second.
The PC-FX has impressive specs for a 32-Bit machine. A 32-Bit NEC V810 RISC processor running at 21.5 Mhz, 2x speed CD-ROM drive, a 16,770,000 color pallet with a maximum of 16,770,000 colors on screen, a 640x448 resolution, JPEG compression at 30fps, and 26 MBits of RAM memory. Internal hardware provide 9 Parallax scrolls (for 2-D games) with some special features like transparently and priority effects.
The PC-FX is not compatible with the PC Engine Duo, or TurboDuo systems. NEC did not want to add more chips to the PC-FX for backwards compatibility with the PC Engine because of the cost. Even though, NEC hopes that people will move up from the PC Engine to their new "big brother".
The PC-FX is in a tower configuration, all white, and has a top loading lid. The controllers are six-button, with two MODE buttons (the function of these, at this time, is unknown). Three expansion slots are available: one in front for a back-up memory card, one on the bottom (connected directly to the motherboard) that is for adding more main memory, and the rear is for adding accessories such as a modem.
Return to Zork - Infocom/Activision (both)
Almost all of the current games that are now available for the PC-FX are "anime" based. Notable titles include: Team Innocent, a sci-fi/adventure game that showcases the FMV capabilities of the PC-FX, and brings you a high action, computer rendered/Japanese anime mix of exploration on a deserted space station. Battle Heat, a totally Japanese anime fighting game where you actually control on screen FMV actions of your fighter. Don't let the term "FMV" scare you off! This is a FMV game like no other! And Graduation II: Neo Generation FX a simulation where you try to get five teenage girls though high school!
Team Innocent - Hudson Soft (both)
Much has been made of the polygon capabilities of the PC-FX. NEC has yet to make a game that shows off what the PC-FX can do in terms of real-time polygon generation, but NEC has stated that many games are in the works. The first "non-anime footage" game to come out for the PC-FX, "Lunatic Dawn", is NEC's first RPG based game for the system, and early reactions have been overwhelmingly positive.
Battle Heat - Hudson Soft (both)
According to NEC of Japan, the PC-FX has sold just under 100,000 units. Not very comparable numbers to the over 1,000,000 units the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn have sold in Japan. Even though, the future looks bright with over 40+ titles coming out in late '95 and early '96.
Graduation II: Neo Generation FX - Riverhill Soft (left),
(a WWII simulation) - Microcabin/NEC (right)
-Aaron Nanto (Guest contributer)
[Editors Note: ...currently, there are only a few games available for this platform, although more will be coming out for late 1995 through 1996 release. Import prices range at this time from $75 to $100. Some current titles include: Battle Heat, Graduation II: Neo Generation FX, Team Innocent, Queen of Queens, Deep Blue Sea, and Return to Zork.]