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Sega Genesis Mini: The Kotaku Test

Sega was always more loved than successful. At no time was the manufacturer of Genesis and Dreamcast the world leader in video games. When it succeeded in America, it remained in Japan and vice versa. The Genesis Mini is a summary of the moment when it came closest to winning – a reminder of what Genesis was, and what it could have been.

The $ 80 worth of Sega Genesis Mini will be released on September 19 and includes 42 classic 16-bit system life games. That's a lot, exactly twice that of Nintendo's SNES Classic. It also includes two of the classic Genesis controllers with three buttons, an HDMI cable and a USB cable with power adapter ̵

1; in other words, everything you need to play right after unpacking.

The hardware is beautiful, a perfect replica of the 1989 Genesis model. The Genesis Mini goes one step further than other classic mini-hardware with interactive elements. The volume knob moves up and down, the spring-loaded dustguards that cover the cartridge slot open and close, and you can even remove the connector cover that connects the genuine Genesis to a Sega CD.

Here is one of the photos you always need to have in these reviews, with a picture of a mini over the original of the real thing.
Photo: Chris Kohler (Kotaku)

None of this actually works of course. You can not play Genesis cartridges on this computer, nor is there a proportionally large Sega CD attachment that allows you to play Sewer Shark (though we can all agree that we should have one Would buy the product immediately). , But they make the Genesis Mini even a fun little toy even before you turn it on.

The included controllers feel like exact replicas of the original, massive, croissant-shaped pads that came with the first Genesis model. Here you may feel that Sega has made a misstep with the Mini, as it contains these 3-button pads rather than the later-produced 6-button controllers. In Japan, the 6-key pads are included; Here, the purchase costs an additional $ 20. Most games use only three buttons anyway, but for those who offer 6-button support (especially Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition ), you have to pay.
[19659002] Although the controllers use USB, you can not simply plug in an old USB controller and use it for the Mini. You need an officially licensed retro-bit controller. Sega sent patterns of 6-button controllers that were excellent. They were also useful for games that do not require six buttons because you can press the Mode button to open the system menu. To get to the menu with a 3-button pad, you must hold down the Start button for three seconds, which is annoying.

Shining Force.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Sega)

So, was it a mistake to include 3-key pads? I tend to "no". The charm of such a mini console is not just the gameplay. it also has this little replica of the thing itself. Most of the people who played Genesis at that time used these controllers. It closes the nostalgic circle to rekindle Sonic the Hedgehog and feel one of those big Chonky Bois in your hands, as you remember.

Like Nintendo's classic systems, the Genesis Mini has an original menu screen music in classic chiptune style. Unlike Nintendo's systems, the melody is composed here by the king of 16-bit music, including Yuzo Koshiro ( Streets of Rage and Actraiser ). The new music is what the kids call "Bop" today. I just let them go and listen to them. They even tuned the startup sequence of the Mini to the music. That's love of detail!

The Mini lacks the software features. Obviously, you can choose to display the games in the correct 4: 3 aspect ratio or be weird and drag them across your entire TV like a crazy carnival mirror. You can turn a CRT filter on and off for fake scan lines and apply one of two different background images to the space around the 4: 3 image. There is a "store everywhere" feature with four slots per game. And that's it already. I would have liked a rewind feature like SNES Classic.

Wonder Boy in Monster World.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Sega) [19659007] But all this would be meaningless without a few games, and for 42 titles, Genesis has most of the big minis. When you think of your childhood playing Genesis, what game do you look back on right away? NBA Jam ? Joe Montana Football ? Aladdin ? Mortal Kombat ?

Oh. Well, um, none of that is in this case.

There is one obstacle for the Genesis Mini that SNES Classic does not really need to deal with. If you look at the best-selling games for the SNES, most of the games are in the top 20 at the SNES Classic. However, if you look at the best-selling games for Genesis, you'll notice the problem: sports licenses, movie licenses and fighting games for which this box would get the rating "hoop" with reputable films, professional athletes and sports franchises in the 1990s all part of the Sega plan. And it worked! However, Sega has also left a software library that can not be released today. This means that if you, like many American Sega fans, have done a lot of sports games on your Genesis, you will not find that experience here.

Sega definitely made an attempt to make some games for the Western audience on the Mini, such as Earthworm Jim Vectorman and Road Rash II . But on the whole, we're looking at a bunch of stylish Japanese action games, JRPGs and Shmups. It's almost like the kind of Genesis collection found in someone who prefers the Super Nintendo. It's a Genesis collection for me so I'm not complaining.

Contra: Hard Corps.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Sega / Konami)

Here is the complete list of games. I've played each of these games, some of them for hours ( Shining Force ), others for a few minutes ( Earthworm Jim ). I will hereby arbitrarily and irrevocably divide them into four levels: A-plane, B-plane, C-plane, and Virtua Fighter 2 For the Genesis plane.

One level

  • Castlevania: Bloodlines
  • Luminous Force
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Shinobi 3
  • Contra: Hard Corps
  • Beyond Oasis
  • Phantasy Star 4: The End of the Millennium [MonsterWorld4
  • Alison Dragoon
  • Dynamite Headdy

B Animal

  • Sonic The Hedgehog
  • Ecco The Dolphin
  • Dr. Robotnik's Common Bean Machine
  • Comix Zone
  • Castle of Illusion with Mickey Mouse
  • World of Illusion with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 2
  • 19659030] Landstalker
  • Street Fighter 2: Special Champion Edition
  • Ghouls & Ghosts
  • Golden Ax
  • Tetris
  • Darius
  • Columns
  • Super Fantasy Zone

C Animal [19659029] Space Harrier 2
  • ToeJam & Earl
  • Altered Beast
  • Earthworm Jim
  • Megamann: The Cunning Wars
  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball
  • Vectorman
  • Road Rash 2
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Eternal Champions
  • Light Crusader
  • Virtua Fighter 2 For the Genesis animal

    As you can see, no matter where you look around this To personalize games, the Genesis Mini has a t Bank. To give the console a greater variety, Sega decided with a limited exception for one game per series. Although I appreciate the effort for diversity, I do not think they should be so strict. I would have preferred to play the original Streets of Rage or Shining Force II instead of – let me just take one thing out of the hat – the Genesis version of , Virtua Fighter 2 a game that probably did not exist here and that really did not have to be re-surfaced.

    Screenshot: Kotaku (Sega / Taito)

    But in general the lineup is strong. Previous little Genesis consoles were not really the best of the best the platform had to offer. Here we finally have first class action games like Gunstar Heroes and Castlevania: Bloodlines . We jump to the end of the series Wonder Boy in Monster World to get to the two, which are essentially JRPGs scrolling sideways, underestimated in their day but still in focus today.

    SNES Classic featured an unreleased game from the 1990s, Star Fox 2 so the Genesis Mini of course, had to double, and added the unpublished Genesis version of Tetris added] and a version of the arcade game portrayed by a hardcore fan Darius . As we look back to the 90s, I use my vocabulary for turn-of-the-century videogame enthusiasts and pronounce it a "mixed bag". Darius is a lot for fun but this port of Tetris is quite anemic. SNES Classic wins the "unpublished games" wars, but that's probably because only Nintendo has ever turned a perfect game on its head.

    There's another important bonus feature that shows how the Genesis Mini feels more like a passionate fan project than a boring marketing tool. You can choose to have the menu appear in many different languages, which changes the overall menu design. The look of the menu is in line with the Genesis logo and design of the region, changing to "Mega Drive" for Europe and Japan. If applicable, the games themselves will be played in this language with alternative ROM files. For example, Beyond Oasis actually had a French-language version.

    Some games differed not only in their languages. If you change the language to Japanese, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine will return to its original Japanese version, Puyo Puyo . Other differences are more subtle, but still significant, such as the Japanese version of Contra: Hard Corps giving the player a three-bar life gauge instead of one-kill kills. Or you could just play the Japanese version of Street Fighter II because you have "M. Bison "to be called" Vega "I'm not here to judge With this added approach, Genesis Mini is a much more thorough exploration of the era than the competition of small boxes.

    One wonders, on the eve of the release of this very cool device, whether or not the language changes to Japanese. “/>

    The menu screen of Genesis Mini Sega missed the window on the mini-console After the great success of the NES Classic, the market has been positively flooded with counterfeit devices, and the bad taste of the vicious PlayStation Classic has still not quite gone out of our mouths to buy another tiny console on this vacation and reward Sega for his Herculean, albeit belated, efforts here? which put another mini on the stack, will be at least not disappointed by this.

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