CP System III

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The CP System III (CPシステムIII, shīpī shisutemu surī) or CPS-3 is an arcade system board that was first used by Capcom in 1996 with the arcade game Red Earth. It was the second successor to the CP System arcade hardware, following the CP System II. It would be the last proprietary system board Capcom would produce before moving on to the Dreamcast-based Naomi platform.


The CP System III became the final arcade system board to be designed by Capcom. It features a security mechanism; games are supplied on a CD, which contains the encrypted game contents, and a security cartridge containing the game BIOS and the SH-2 CPU[1] with integrated decryption logic, with the per-game key stored in battery-backed SRAM. Capcom chose the CD medium in order to keep down the price of the system.[2] When the CP System III board is first powered on, the contents of the CD are loaded into a bank of SIMMs on the motherboard, where it is executed. The program code is then decrypted at run time via the security cartridge. The security cartridge is sensitive to any sort of tampering, which will result in the decryption key being erased and the cartridge being rendered useless. Games become unplayable when the battery inside the security cartridge dies. The lone exception is Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact, which uses a default set of decryption keys that are written to dead cartridges on boot.[1]

In June 2007, the encryption method was reverse-engineered by Andreas Naive,[3] making emulation possible.[1]


  • Main CPU: Hitachi HD6417099 (SH-2) at 25 MHz
  • Storage:
  • Sound chip: 16-channel 8-bit sample player, stereo
  • Maximum color palette: 16 million shades[4]
  • Maximum number of colors on screen: 32,768[5] (15-bit colour, 555 RGB)
    • Palette size: 131,072 pens
    • Colors per tile (backgrounds / sprites): 64 (6 bits per pixel) or 256 (8 bits per pixel), selectable
    • Colors per tile (text overlay): 16 (4 bits per pixel)
  • Maximum number of objects: 1024, with hardware scaling[5]
  • Scroll faces: 4 regular + 1 text overlay 'score screen' layer
  • Scroll features: Horizontal & vertical scrolling, linescroll, linezoom[5]
  • Framebuffer zooming
  • Color blending effects
  • Hardware RLE decompression of 6 bpp and 8 bpp graphics through DMA
  • Resolution, pixels: 384×224 (standard mode) / 496×224 (widescreen mode)

List of games[edit]

All six games are developed by Capcom and are all head-to-head fighting games in a list of games that appears to be as small as the CP System Dash library.

English title Release date Japanese title
Red Earth 1996-11-21 War-Zard
Street Fighter III: New Generation 1997-02-04 Street Fighter III
Street Fighter III 2nd Impact: Giant Attack 1997-09-30 Street Fighter III 2nd Impact
(ストリートファイターIII 2nd Impact)
JoJo's Venture 1998-12-02 JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken
Street Fighter III 3rd Strike: Fight for the Future 1999-05-12 Street Fighter III 3rd Strike
(ストリートファイターIII 3rd Strike)
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future 1999-09-13 JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken Mirai e no Isan
(ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 未来への遺産)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c MAME's CPS-3 driver
  2. ^ "Introducing... Red Earth". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 16. Emap International Limited. February 1997. p. 98.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Computer and Video Games, October 1996, page 10 Archived November 19, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c "Arcade Board Comparison". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 88. Ziff Davis. November 1996. p. 168.

External links[edit]