How to Play

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Given that The Phantom has been around since the 1930s, and Phantom 2040 itself is now almost 30 years old, I do not assume that everyone reading this page will know how to find access to the game. So, here is some advice for if you’d like to play and don’t know where to start.

How To Play

Phantom 2040 is an old game. As is common with licenced games it has never seen a re-release. As such, some thought must be given as to how you would like to play it. If you have an original Mega Drive/ Genesis or SNES console laying around you may want to play it on the original hardware for the most legitimate gaming experience. If you don't have a console handy, then your only other option is emulation.

Original Hardware

Playing on original hardware comes with a few issues. Firstly, it can be hard to get older consoles to run well on modern TVs. The consoles themselves can be temperamental, as given their age they are delicate. You could spend a while blowing into cartridge slots.

Despite the size of the game, Phantom 2040 does not offer a save function. This was actually one of the biggest criticisms the game received upon release. Instead, you will have to rely on passwords to get back to where you left off. However, the game only provides passwords at the end of each Chapter, meaning you need to complete a whole chapter before receiving one. This may reduce ones’ willingness to experiment during gameplay. Also, the passwords are quite long and if you accidently write a character incorrectly for reference later, you’ll be stuck.

Also, if you are playing on a Mega Drive or Genesis I highly recommend you play with a 6-button controller. This allows you to have two weapons and the Inductance Rope equipped at all times, making gameplay much smoother and more enjoyable.


Emulation basically means you'll be using a program to allow your computer to run retro system games on your computer. For this you'll need emulation software and a copy of the game's code, known as a ROM.

For people brand new to emulating retro consoles (and even those that aren’t) I highly recommend checking out RetroArch. It’s an easily installable programme that comes with all the emulators you could ever need and the vast majority of controllers work with it “out of the box.”

Skull.png If you do use RetroArch, you’ll want to install either PicoDrive or Genesis Plus GX cores for Sega and Snes9X for Nintendo. “Cores” are what RetroArch calls emulators.

Getting everything up and running is pretty easy if you have basic computer knowledge. If you do get stuck, there is plenty of help on the RetroArch site, and of course Google can always help.

Skull.pngEmulators recreate system hardware, not the games they play. As such, issues that appear in the game when running on original hardware, such as slowdown or pixel clipping, will also appear when emulating.
Skull.pngIf you don’t wish to use RetroArch for any reason, other good emulators are suggested in the Resources section of the game's page.


A game ROM is a file that contains all the information for the game. ROMs are something of a grey area legally. If you own a copy of a game, you are legally allowed to create a backup of that game via a ROM file. If you don’t own the game, well. . . again, Google is your friend here. Simply search “Phantom 2040 [your choice of console] ROM” and you should be able to find it.

A Word on Controllers (for Emulation)

If you are playing via emulation you'll want to get yourself a good PC controller. Any of the X-Box pads are great and RetroArch will auto configure to them, but any 6-button pad should be fine. Be aware that for some of the lesser-known brands you may have to manually adjust the button configuration. You can play the game using the keyboard, but it is rather cumbersome and not recommended. Take some time to set up your controller the way you like.

Skull.pngWhen I say “six button controller” I mean a controller with at least a directional pad (up, down, left, right), a start button, an options button and six actions buttons, usually A,B,X,Y on the face, or front, of the controller with L and R on the shoulders (top).

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