My engine came from Van's in 2009 with a straight and a retard mag. Never seen a retard mag before and looking into it I figured out that I needed a SlickStart for it to start reliably. Not sure why that wasn't included in the kit or at least offered as an option. Maybe it was and I overlooked it.
Technically you can hook up a SlickStart to a straight mag using the wiring diagram intended for impulse coupled mags, but that would be bad as there will be nothing to retard the ignition. Not good.
I'm with Jesse, he most likely has a retard mag. At least I hope so
If he really has two straight mags with shower sparks, he's got a more thorough inspection to do...