PS2 Cheats with RetroArch – Using PNACH Files

You may already be aware of the incredibly long-winded way in which you can create cheats for PS2 games, so I thought it would be useful to outline the most simple way to obtain PNACH cheat files that can be used in RetroArch with the LRPS2 Core (Previously PCSX2).

This involves simply downloading pre-built PNACH files and copying them into your RetroArch PCSX2 emulator cheat folder so the LRPS2 core can access them.

What is a PNACH file?

A PNACH is a text file that can be used to apply either cheats or patches to games via PCSX2. The PNACH file contains sets of instructions that are applied to the game via the emulator.

PNACH file names are made up of the game’s ‘CRC’ with a .PNACH extension.

How to find a PS2 game CRC?

An easy way to find a PS2 game CRC number is to use PCSX2, launch the game and then scroll through the PCSX2 log screen until you can find ‘Game CRC =‘, you then just need to note the value after ‘0x’ and this is what has to be used for your PNACH file name. An example PNACH file name for the game Return to Castle Wolfenstein – Operation Resurrection would be ‘461C79A5.PNACH’.

PCSX2 CRC
Finding a CRC number with PCSX2

RetroArch PS2 Cheat Guide

Step 1 – Ensure PCSX2 & RetroArch LRPS2 Core Installed

You will need to install and configure PCSX2 and RetroArch LRPS2 core in order to use PNACH files, which are for use with the PCSX2 emulator.

The LRPS2 core uses the standalone PCSX2 emulator to be able to function, so it is important you follow the above link’s instructions to set up RetroArch for PS2 emulation.

Step 2 – Download / Copy PNACH cheat files

To save loads of time messing around with compiling your own PNACH files, the PCSX2 forum has an excellent resource of PNACH files that you can simply download or copy and use with PCSX2 and RetroArch.

You will need to ensure that the CRC

  • Simply visit the PCSX2 forum, search for the PNACH cheat file for your game, and download the required PNACH file.
  • If there isn’t a download link, just copy and paste the code displayed and save it to a text file, naming the file the CRC number with a .PNACH extension, as detailed earlier. If you need to change a .txt file extension to .PNACH, simply view the file in Windows explorer, click ‘View’ and then select ‘Show file name extensions’. You will now be able to rename the file from .txt to .PNACH.

Step 3 – Place PNACH file in PCSX2 ‘Cheats’ Folder

Copy your .PNACH file to the following folder ‘RetroArch -> system -> pcsx2 -> cheats’.

RetroArch PS2 Cheats Folder
RetroArch PS2 Cheats Folder

Step 4 – Enable Cheats in LRPS2 Core

To enable cheats in the LRPS2 Core, load the core in RetroArch, then go to ‘quick Menu -> Core Options -> Emulation’, and enable the cheats option.

RetroArch PS2 Enable Cheats
Enabling PS2 Cheats in the LRPS2 Core

Step 5 – Launch game

Once you have enabled cheats in RetroArch, you can now load a game via LRPS2.

If the correct .PNACH file is present along with the cheat instructions, then these wil automatically be applied to the game once it has booted.

If you have a .PNACH file with multiple cheats, you can disable these by simply deleting them from the .PNACH file or by ‘commenting’ a cheat code out, by adding // before the before the part which start patch=.

The following example demonstrates this – the two forward slashes added to the patch=1 row will disable this cheat.

gametitle=tekken5 [SCES 53201] (E) [1f88ee37]
comment=codes pal test
//All characters unlocked
//patch=1,EE,203F8B08,word,FFFFFFFF