Review by Bobo The Clown

"One Of The Best Systems All-Time"

The Sega Genesis was rushed out to be a competitor to Nintendo's humungeously popular NES and a future opponent to SNES. It stands as Sega's best system ever, so far (too early to tell with the Dreamcast), and it succeed in biting a major chunk out of Nintendo's Empire.

The Genesis was a 16-bit system, but it was not on the same scale as the SNES. The SNES was the more powerful of the two. However, Sega tried to combat this by selling two extra units, the Sega CD and 32x. While boosting the Genesis' power a lot, neither of these caught on widespread because of their cost (around $100+ for them). After getting a huge early lead on the SNES, Genesis slowly lost ground, and died almost a full year before the SNES.

Sega really failed to give Genesis users a proper sendoff. When Saturn was released, Genesis, Sega CD, and 32x development was basically shoved off into a dark corner and never started again. As a result, many users felt they were getting the cold shoulder from Sega. This would hurt them when the Playstation and Nintendo 64 came out, as their former customers flocked to these systems instead of the Saturn.

In the early days, Sega's marketing campaign revolved around the hip and sleek Genesis being much cooler then the alternatives, the NES, Game Boy, and SNES. Sega also liked to point to the Genesis' large library of sports and action titles, which gave the system large mainstream appeal. Sega marketed the Genesis as the more grown up of the two systems, which can be seen in it's viewpoints on fighting games.

In the action department, they had a rival to Mario's popularity in Sonic the Hedgehog. He was around for three games on the Genesis. Other top notch action games were Vectorman, Comix Zone, Golden Axe, and Streets of Rage.

Sports was likewise a strong point. Despite offering almost the same exact games on the SNES, Genesis versions of Electronic Arts games (NHL, Madden, and NBA Live series) sold much better. Sega was also much better at developing sports games in house then Nintendo. Sega released several NFL and NHL games, along with the excellent World Series Baseball series.

The fighting games on the Genesis were actually worse then their SNES counterparts, but Nintendo made one fatal flaw early on in the console wars. When Mortal Kombat came out on the SNES, Nintendo decided to censor all the blood out, feeling the heat from Senators such as Liberman. The Genesis did not, and they pounced on Nintendo's weakness. Soon, Nintendo was labeled ''soft'' and became synonmous with kiddie games. This was remedied by Mortal Kombat 2, but the damage had been done. Genesis was now considered THE system if you were over 10 and didn't want to look like a total loser.

Sega did make some errors in marketing. The whole Genesis lineup is very heavy on action and sports and fighting games, but it's very light on role playing games and adventure games. Outside of Phantasy Star and Shining Force, the Genesis had no other quality RPG's. The SNES offered a much larger VARIETY of games.

The Genesis also couldn't compete with the later generation SNES games such as Donkey Kong Country. A flaw of Sega was to make extra hardware devices such as the Sega CD while Nintendo simply added cheap and inexpensive chips (Super FX) inside each game to upgrade graphics. The lack of a six button controller infuriated many fighting game fans. Sega's early lead was whittled down and eventually passed by Nintendo.

Graphically, the Genesis was adequate, but it was inferior to the Super Nintendo. A lot depended on the skill of the programmer, but technically, more impressive graphics were possible on the SNES. Genesis games seemed to play a lot faster, but in actually, a lot of programmers made them play faster so gamers wouldn't notice holes in the graphics.

Sounds were much like the graphics. The ceiling of Genesis sound was lower then SNES, but most of it depended on the programmer. The Genesis still has some of the most memorable sound around, such as the theme to Sonic the Hedgehog.

Today, the Genesis can be found for as little as 20 bucks BRAND NEW at Toys R Us. Most games are also plentiful and fairly cheap, 5 to 20 bucks each. They're very solid purchases and I highly recommend that everyone at least try the Genesis out.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/07/00, Updated 08/07/00

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