Not For Resale carts were originally intended to be nothing more than store kiosk games. That's it. When the carts were no longer needed, the store was supposed to return them to Nintendo, or toss them in the trash. These carts should've been lost to time. But fortunately a small number of them survived. Most of the NFRs were identical to their retail counterparts, with the exception of being marked "Not For Resale!" Jet Force Gemini was one of the few to be different.
And we begin with the cart itself.
Just like every other NFR cart, the text "NOT FOR RESALE!" has been added. The "Published by" and Rareware logo have both been moved down slightly to make room for the NFR text. This seems odd because the NFR text would've been able to fit without moving anything else. The last label difference would be a slightly different product code. Retail is NUS-NJFE-USA, and the NFR is DIS-NUS-NJDE-USA. This particular Jet Force Gemini NFR cart does not have a sticker on the back of the cartridge.
Now, let's see what's under the hood.
A different board was used for in the NFR cart, but otherwise the layout of the components hasn't changed. The interesting part is that all the chips are different. The otherside of the board is pretty much identical.
The differences between this NFR cart, and the retail version can be heard almost immediately. The sound effect played during the "Presented In" screen is different. The widescreen and Dolby have switched order, and in the retail version you'd hear a bit of music played during the Nintendo and Rareware logo. That bit of music is not present in the Not For Resale cart, it's just quiet. Speaking of logos, the Nintendo logo is orange and less thick in the NFR cart, instead of red and more bolded. The Rareware logo has a slight text difference right below it, as "1999" and "Rare" have switched places. The TM on the Jet Force Gemini logo has also changed places. And if you check the options, you'll find that the background is a darker blue. I've noticed another missing sound effect in the NFR cart. If you create a new file, and then back out at the name entry screen, the cancellation sound effect is not there. There's one more difference between the two carts during the opening cutscene. The music played during the opening cutscene is unsynchronized! This is most noticeable when Vela is typing at the keyboard and the typing sound effect is heard before she gets there, as well as at the very end of the cutscene as the music stops before the cutscene ends. This likely is not a beta change, and is more just a complete screw up on Rareware's part!
So after that long cutscene, you'll have landed on a foreign planet and the game begins. But before we look around, let's see what's different in the options menu. The option to save where ever you want is not present in the NFR cart. The NFR cart still saves whenever you defeat a level though. The sound effect played when you switch characters is missing in the NFR cart. In the "TRIBALS" option, there was a clock next to your times. This clock is absent in the NFR cart. The NFR cart has "FLOYD TOKENS" in the inventory. These were renamed to "MIZAR TOKENS" in the final version. Speaking of the inventory, the sound effect played when you switch between the two screens is different. So far this has been pretty minor stuff, but there is one difference that's major. When you have the game paused in the Not For Resale cart, the background music of the level continues to play! The background music's sound level is turned down a bit while paused, but not by much. The retail cart just has a quiet pause screen. This does make you wonder why Rareware changed this. Most people prefer a paused game to be quiet, but Rareware didn't care as plenty of their other N64 games had music in the pause screen.
Gameplay & Other Changes
In the NFR cart you get to play pretty well up the end of the S.S. Anubis. There's a handful of changes on the way. King Jeff is much bigger in the NFR. Also the Invasion cutscene that he shows you has different background music. Floyd (Mizar) Tokens have a different pick-up sound as well. The furthest you can go in this demo is up to where you rescue Vela. In the retail version of JFG, there is a panel you can destroy on the wall to free Vela. You would unlock Vela, get a key and then be able to unlock the door to the exit. In the NFR cart, this panel is missing and Vela cannot be saved. The door to escape is already unlocked. If you do escape then you'll be taken back to the very start of the game outside Goldwood, instead of to the next level, Tawfret. Our final change is in the multiplayer. In the NFR cart your health is on screen at all times. You only see your health when you take damage in the retail cart.
Yet another Rareware demo that was different from the final version. The differences on the Jet Force Gemini NFR cart are mostly minor, but it's still important to note them. You may be wondering, "is there more to this cart?" The answer to that is unfortunately no. The remaining levels in Jet Force Gemini were not just made inaccessible; they were completely deleted off the cartridge. The Not For Resale version of Jet Force Gemini typically sells for $50-100. It is challenging to find, but it isn't as rare as some of the other NFR carts. If you're a collector, go for this cart! Otherwise I suggest you skip it and get the retail version.
Written by Kevin Ames
Special thanks to Aleckermit.
September 30 2012