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Doctor V64 review

Nintendo64's profile picture
Published in 
N64 various
 · 25 Nov 2022


The Doctor V64 was produced by the now bankrupt company Bung enterprise in 1996. It was one of the first Backup/Development units for the Nintendo 64 and was significantly cheaper than the official Nintendo kit.

Initially the unit was available in a configuration with 128Mbit of ram, but later it was necessary to be able to expand the memory up to 256Mbit. The home user can develop his own applications and then load them from the CD-ROM drive at an amazing 8x speed! Actually, it doesn't matter which unit do you install inside the Doctor V64. You can install CD-ROM 52X drive but the drive will always transfer the data at maximum speed of 8x.

Actually the Doctor V64 is an emulator capable of imitating the operation of the rom contained in each Nintendo 64 cartridge. A complete development kit also contains the necessary software tools to develop the software, which Bung did not distribute.

Doctor V64
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Doctor V64

The Doctor V64's hardware is based on early Famicom/NES clones: in fact it has the same CPU 6502 and if you try to disassemble it to look at the hand control's PCB, you will notice that the names of the keys of the Famicom's console pad are engraved in it (A, B, Start, Select, Up, Down, Right, Left).


The contents of the package includes:

  • Doctor V64 with CD-ROM drive
  • Power supply
  • Manual in English and Chinese
  • Emulation Adapter
  • Doctor V64 to Nintendo 64 connector

Setup and first impressions

The Doctor V64 must be positioned, with the appropriate connector, under the Nintendo 64 console, where it fits perfectly. It is then necessary to connect the power supply and the video output to the Nintendo 64, resulting in a final system that works.

You can connect the RCA video cable of the console to the Doctor V64 and obtain a single cable to connect it to the TV (but I do not recommend this configuration as the video rendering of the Doctor V64 is inferior to the video rendering of the Nintendo 64 console).

The Doctor V64 fits perfectly under the Nintendo 64
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The Doctor V64 fits perfectly under the Nintendo 64

On the back of the Doctor V64 unit there is a convenient switch to select the output video signal: PAL or NTSC. There is also a connector (PC parallel port) to connect the unit to a standard computer and the RCA connectors. Under the unit there is a small door that contains the RAM banks. Unfortunately the banks are not standard but specific for the Doctor V64.

Bios and software supplied

After pressing the power button the pre-installed bios will boot and the version (in my case V2.03, see picture below) will appear on the screen. The latest official version released by Bung enterprise is 2.03 beta.

Press the Play key button to access the contents of the CD-ROM disc. If the inserted disc is an Audio-CD or a Video CD it will be played automatically, otherwise the list of files present in it will appear.

With the other buttons you can navigate the files in the disc and press play again to load the selected file into the RAM. Once finished, the Doctor V64 checks if the rom is in the correct format, otherwise it switches automatically the bytes in the memory (this step takes biblical time!).

Once this process is complete you can turn on your Nintendo 64 to finally execute the software.

Doctor V64 review
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You can navigate thought the different options in the menu by pressing the appropriate key (Up od Down). From the menu you can perform operations such as cartridge backup, CRC check and in-depth test of the device.

The backup procedure

To backup an original Nintendo game you need a lot of time and necessarily a Windows PC connected to the parallel port of the Doctor V64, to actually transfer the rom.

Disconnect the Nintendo 64 and adapter from the Doctor V64 and insert the original Nintendo 64' cartridge containing the game into the Doctor V64 connector.

There are different ways to perform the backup. The official way is by using command line scripts! The parallel port of the PC must be in SPP mode, consult your motherboard manual for more info.

Unfortunately modern computers don't have anymore a parallel port. If you don't have an old PC available, I suggest you to buy a PCI card that can be installed into a modern PC and that provides the needed parallel port.

The bios of the Doctor V64 offer several different functions.
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The bios of the Doctor V64 offer several different functions.

The Doctor V64 can try to detect the size of the Nintendo 64's cartridge you are trying to backup, but unfortunately it can never guess the correct size, so the menu will show you every possible size (except 96Mbit) up to 512Mbit.

The bottleneck of the backup process is not the copy of the cartridge's content into the RAM, but the extremely slow transfer speed of the parallel port. The copy of a 512Mbit cartridge can take up to 20 minutes.


Despite having been the first backup unit for the Nintendo 64, today the Doctor V64 is certainly not anymore the best solution. Like many (but not all) Nintendo 64 backup units, it doesn't handle save data, so your data will be stored directly on the cartridge contained in the emulation adapter, with all the pros and cons of it.

Bung enterprise has later produced two data backup cartridges of the type 4KB and SRAM. The first cartridge is called DX256, and has switches to select the memory bank, the other is the DS1 cartridge that can be controlled via software through a special program for Nintendo 64.

Inside the Doctor V64

By breaking the seals and removing the wrapping of the Doctor V64, we are faced with a slaughterhouse: bad soldering on all the boards.

There is an IDE cable held with tape, yes exactly, adesive tape.

The first Doctor V64 models had cable connection problems.

The inside of a Doctor V64 backup unit.
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The inside of a Doctor V64 backup unit.

The BIOS software is stored into an integrated circuit (IC) manufactured by the company Winbond, like most of the other components of the unit. The motherboard forcefully enters inside the plastic's case, suggesting everything works by pure luck/magic!

In spite of all of this, my Doctor V64's unit runs just as good as day one. There is a small bug in the bios which returns an error while checking the RAM, but otherwise it works perfectly. The CD-ROM unit must be configured, using the appropriate jumpers, in MASTER mode otherwise the Doctor V64 returns an error (and I discovered this by pure chance).

Considerations and conclusions

When released, the Doctor V64 represented a good purchase due to its high compatibility. The main disadvantages are: it cannot be controlled through the Nintendo 64 (as in the case of a competing device, the CD64), it uses a proprietary RAM and in case of failure you have to spend a lot of money to repair it.

Today the market offer better solutions.

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guest's profile picture

Hi what do mean by the cd rom unit must be configured by the appropriate jumpers in master mode? and how is it done?

3 Mar 2024
Dreamcast's profile picture

Hi :)

On the back of the CD-ROM player, usually next to the power connector, there is a second connector (see image). By changing the position of the jumpers it is possible to set the drive in master or slave configuration.

Keep in mind that each drive is different, so you need to read your CD-ROM player's instruction manual to know how to set the jumpers correctly.

4 Mar 2024
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