Tech Up! Sega Mega Drive Mini Review

By Neil Flynn 06.10.2019 3

Tech Up! Sega Mega Drive Mini Review on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion
The console wars of the '90s have been well documented, and are somewhat old hat by now. Nonetheless, it is hard to take away the importance of these, the impact they had on the industry, and now, the disposable income that tweens of said eras have in 2019. Unfortunately, the SEGA Mega Drive (or Genesis for North America) has had a number of licensed and unlicensed plug and play sets for many years now, meaning that this isn't quite the novelty item that the NES, SNES and PlayStation classics are. Furthermore, SEGA themselves have released multiple Mega Drive compilations for a number of consoles over the past two decades, including last year's SEGA Mega Drive Classics. With the odds stacked against them, how does the SEGA Mega Drive Mini stand up against the rest?
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Immediately upon seeing the boxed product there is the feeling that there has been an enormous effort put into faithfully recreating the original 1989 model of the Mega Drive. Unlike the Nintendo mini consoles, the Sega Mega Drive Mini has a cartridge flap, and the original volume slider which moves, which is more than what can be said for Nintendo's non-functioning flap and eject button on the SNES classic. The box itself is a modern take on the original, inside is a HDMI cable, USB power cord, USB power adapter (North America only), the unit itself and 2 controllers, each with a 6ft (1.8 Meters) long cable, besting the competitions notorious shorter cable length.
 
A misstep by Sega was perhaps to include the original controller model, rather than the later released 6 button controller, as this layout would particularly benefit a number of titles the additional buttons. The unit is slightly larger in size than its other '90s counterparts, officially being 55% of the original 1989 Mega Drive model 1 size.

Another area where the Sega Mega Drive Mini bests its competition is in the sheer number of available titles it has installed right of box. The 42 games dwarf the PlayStation's 20 and Super Nintendo's 21 picks, but has SEGA flung on some subpar shovelware to artificially bulk out this number? Astoundingly this is not the case, largely, the 42 preloaded titles, which come from both SEGA itself, and third-party developers, has been handled by fan favourites, M2, who are well known for their ability to accurately port, emulate and remaster classic titles accurately.
 
In fact, the Sega Mega Drive Mini comes with two brand new games for the system, Darius and Tetris. Darius is a side scrolling shoot 'em up that has been worked on the ground up by M2, and the latter is an unreleased version of Tetris. Darius is as fun as it ever has been, and to be able to play it on this system is a great touch, although Tetris does feel like it has aged quite badly, especially as the Tetris design has moved on significantly since this version.

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Other games include SEGA classics such as Gunstar Heroes, Streets of Rage 2, Shinobi III, Golden Axe and Sonic the Hedgehog. It is arguable that the sheer amount of variety in game genres means that it makes the SNES and PS Classic feel quite laughable. Heck, having Earthworm Jim and both Castle of Illusion and World of Illusion is a pure coup by SEGA knowing how treasured these licenses are to the kids of the '90s. The only added touch could have been to include 32X or Mega CD games to the mix, as these are the titles that have faded into obscurity these days, especially as they are unlikely to receive their own compilation or functional mini counterpart.

Retailing at £69.99 ($79.99) it is on the slightly pricier side compared to PlayStation Mini price point, however this should be remedied by over double the number of games. Furthermore, SEGA has also taken the time to have a decent UI which makes it attractive to select games, read descriptions, and appreciate the glorious box art all to the catchy menu theme composed by Yuzo Koshiro who created the track using the same YM2612 sound chip from the original Mega Drive.

A nifty little trick added into every edition of the Mega Drive Mini is the ability to change the language and play games in whatever region that has been selected. There are two options to enter in and out of games, one is to press the rest button on the console itself, and the other is to hold the start button down for five seconds. Why Nintendo never did something similar to this still boggles the mind, but at least SEGA knew that getting up off the sofa or out of bed is far to strenuous of a task to do in 2019.
 
Unfortunately, there is no pixel perfect option, which Nintendo offers on both the NES and SNES Classics. The pixel perfect mode on the Nintendo classic consoles has a sharper image due to the pixels drawn being drawn perfectly square, and the 4:3 mode retains the proper aspect ratio, but makes the image a bit fuzzy. Then there is always the option to have 16:9 widescreen although this something that cannot be recommended, as it just looks pure ugly to do this.

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10
Die hard SEGA fans will be incredulously happy that the Mega Drive has finally received the justice it deserves after countless knock-offs and poorly licensed units over the past few decades. Some will moan as to why only the three-button pad is available, many will continue to question the whereabouts of Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, but none will question the vociferous appetite for an official, authentic branded product, something which M2 and SEGA have unduly delivered on. Every child of the '90s needs this product, regardless of whether they were SEGA fans or not.

 

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Comments

SEGA really knocked it out of the park with this one. I unashamedly love these mini consoles and the Mega Drive Mini has been my favorite so far. 

Soooo...can this be modded like the SNES mini can?

( Edited 06.10.2019 17:15 by Azuardo )

Azuardo said:
Soooo...can this be modded like the SNES mini can?

I'd be surprised if it couldn't in the next week or so XD

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