At long last, the Sega Genesis Mini has arrived, and yes, it’s great for lovers of Sonic the Hedgehog games. But it’s also so much more as a video game console.
If you’re a video game company looking to revive a long-lost (and -beloved) console, there’s a pretty well-established script by now. Your new, reasonably priced device should be a smaller version of the original with games stored internally and graphics that don’t look stupid on today’s massive TV’s.
The Sega Genesis Mini follows this script. It looks just like the original down to the vestigial cartridge slot has a spring-loaded dust cover and “High Definition Graphics” label looking right at home on a console that comes with an HDMI cable (along with a USB cable, AC adapter, and two three-button controllers).
A quick note about the controllers: the six-button controller that true Sega-heads know and love is available but sold separately. You’ll need them for maximum enjoyment of certain games, like Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition.
Speaking of games, the Genesis Mini has 40 of ’em. Lots of the best options from the console’s heyday are, sadly, too violent or too expensive (think sports- and movie-licensed titles), but there are still some great ones including, of course, Sonic the Hedgehog.
Other titles include the Dracula-themed platformer Castlevania: Bloodlines, groundbreaking independent title Gunstar Heroes, and the bizarre and captivating Toe Jam & Earl, as far as we know the only funk-themed video game out there.
The Genesis Mini also has previously unreleased Genesis versions of Tetris and Darius, a ported arcade game from the era of arcade gaming.
Playing the available titles is pretty solid, by which we mean the controllers have the same clunky plastic feel you’ll remember from your youth.
There’s a bunch of clever features that don’t add a ton to the experience, but are nevertheless fun to have. CRT mode will recreate the scrolling horizontal lines of massive monitors. The volume control really slides, though it doesn’t control the volume. And if you get bored and decide to change the language menu the entire interface will match that region’s version of the original console UI, including the (far inferior) name Mega Drive that was used in Europe and Japan.
The bottom line: if you’re a Sega fan, this thing is a must buy, but even if you’re just Sega-curious this thing has enough games and nifty touches to make it more than worth its $80 price tag.
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