I have to be honest...ever since I learned, that one of my favourite games Psychic5 was made by NMK for Jaleco, I have completely fallen in love with both companies. So I try to snap up as many games from both (when I find them at a fair price) as I can. Here I'd found an original NMK Thunder Dragon with "graphical errors" on evilBay with a starting price of 2EURO + 28EURO P&P. As I was the only bidder, I got it for the 30EURO all-in-all };-P.
So dumped all socketed ROMs (they were fine) and did visual inspection. The board was in very fine physical condition, and the only suspective thing I found, was this
After having eliminated ROMs and physical damage, I had a hunch, that this error was caused by a RAM issue. So I started shortening adjacent data pins on the different RAMs on the board, to see if I could somehow stir up the graphics on screen. I found that the 4 MB84256 at positions IC1-IC4 is involved in generating the different layers on the screen. I googled the data sheet for MB84256-12 (that btw is produced by The Evil F aka Fujitsu) and found that they are just the Fujitsu equivalent of the standard 62256 with 120ns access time. These are not very common (at least not at the boards in my scrap pile), but at last I managed to find 2 pieces at 70ns and 85ns respectively and they both tested good in the Top2005+ };-P. So I tried piggy backing the 4 RAMs one at the time.
However it was now evident, that the game also had a sprite problem. I just didn't notice that before because of the issue with the backgrounds.
The game is very addicting, fast paced, and has a very cool soundtrack. I'm really pleased to have it in my collection };-P