Review by chrono trigger fan

Reviewed: 08/28/01 | Updated: 08/28/01

Not as good as the SNES but not far behind

The Super Nintendo's eternal rival is yet another system for the ages. It may not have won the console wars but it still turned out to be one of the best systems of all time.

The Sega Genesis was originally released in 1989. It is the sequel to Sega's first home console the Sega Master System (an 8 bit system released in 1986). The Sega Genesis is a 16 bit system, putting it in league with the Super Nintendo and Turbo Grafx 16 in terms of power and capabilities. It has the ability to show 64 colors on screen at once out of a pallet of 512 available colors. It can show a maximum of 80 sprites and has a screen resolution of 320 x 224. It has a CPU running at 7.6 MHz (more than the SNES). It used a cartridge format for it's games just like the other systems of the time but thanks to the 16 bit engine it could pull of much better looking games than the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Three models of the Genesis were produced the original one at the initial launch, a second sleeker one in 1993 and a third in 1997. A portable system called the Sega Nomad was also released near the end of the Genesis' life which allowed you to play Genesis games on the go. The Genesis was released early in the console wars in order to gain a stronger fan base in the market after minimal success during the days of 8 bit consoles. NEC's Turbo Grafx 16 couldn't compete with the Genesis due to the impressive list of games being released for Sega's console. As a result Sega attracted many people to it's new system and gained great popularity. Nintendo's NES was now outdated but Nintendo was not yet ready to unleash their next system the Super Nintendo (SNES) on the world. As time went on the Genesis became even more popular and was the system of choice for many gamers, but with the looming threat of the SNES, Sega needed to ensure that they could their lead. And so Sega created their mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog. On the day the SNES was released, Sega retaliated by releasing a string of stellar titles including the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. For a while it worked, the Genesis was outselling the SNES. But over time people began to show greater interest in Nintendo's console with it's superior capabilities (in most area's at least) and with it's stronger third party support. Once again Sega struck back by releasing two Genesis upgrades to power up the system the Sega CD (see my review) and the Genesis 32X. Both add on's were poorly supported and eventually flopped, and sadly this began the down fall of Sega. However the Genesis itself was not doomed to fail instead it continued to have great success until the end of the 3rd generation console wars. Even after the Sega Saturn system was released the Genesis still got a few new games to add to it's library.

When the Genesis was released it's graphics were very impressive and when compared to the other systems of the time Sega was the clear winner in this department. But the graphics of the system were never really able to compare to it's main rival the Super Nintendo once it came onto the scene in 1991. This was due to a weaker selection of available colors. However an edge that it has over the SNES is the fact that it is usually able to show more detailed sprites. The graphics are better than the NES but not as good as the SNES for the most part.

The sound is probably the biggest flaw with the system. While there are some games with excellent sound, many just don't sound that good. When compared to the near CD quality sound of the SNES the Genesis is more on league with the NES in terms of what it can do.

The controller consists of a directional pad, a start button, and three action buttons labelled A, B, and C. The controller is usually practical for most games but fighting games present some what of a problem due to a more limited number of action buttons than the SNES. The large size of the controller also made it a bit awkward. Luckily Sega responded to these problems by releasing a second model of the controller that was smaller and had six buttons.

The Genesis has an excellent library of games to choose from. All genres are covered although some are much stronger than others. Some notable titles and series include Sonic the Hedgehog, Shinobi, Streets of Rage, Vectorman, Thunder Force, Ghouls 'N Ghosts, Shining Force, Phantasy Star, Contra: Hard Corps, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Street Fighter II, Mega Bomberman, Gunstar Heroes, Golden Axe, Gaiares, and so on. One major edge that the Genesis had over the SNES was a much better and larger selection of sports games than the SNES.

The Genesis can play Sega Master System games through use of an adapter which was released at the time of the Genesis launch. A little know fact is that Genesis controller can also be used as controllers for the Atari 7800 system.

(as it would have been when it was released)

SOUND 7/10
GAMES 8.5/10

Overall 7.9
Rounded up to 8 for GameFaqs

The Genesis is one of the better old systems out there and if you are looking to play some great classics from the days of the 16 bit consoles the Genesis is an excellent choice. While it is not as good as the Super Nintendo it is a great system none the less and I highly recommend you at least give the system a chance to show you what it has to offer.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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