Review by The President

"It's alive! It's alive!"

Sega! Super Sega! You are the greatest developer in history! From the: Country of Japan; You make the games that everyone loves! D’oh! If you don’t know of Sega, turn away from games. Forever. Sega has been in the bis for over 20 years, released 5 systems, with their most successful, the Genesis, lasting for 8 years, (1989-1997) and having a large collection of great games. Oh, just to name a few, Golden Axe, Toe Jam and Earl, Contra: Hard Cops, Terminator 2, Street of Rage 2, Shining Force 2, Phantasy Star 4, and a little blue hedgehog named: SONIC. For 5 years, this system was the premier gaming machine, with its 16 bits of power. (Paltry to today’s standards, but you still couldn’t get a better 2-D arcade experience anywhere else for 2 years. Until the SNES game, it was the strongest console, followed by the PC Engine. I won’t count the 3DO, CD-i, and Jaguar, because, really, they don’t count at all. The Genesis was it’s best in America; however, it didn’t get much success in Japan. (Where is was called the Megadrive.) I shall be doing the Genesis in the North American point of view, because I am an American.

The Genesis first came out in 1989, with the pack in game Altered Beast. Altered Beast being an arcade classic, and impossible to re-create on other consoles at the time, the Genesis quickly pulled ahead of the Turbo-Graphx 16. However, it still had a long way to go to pull ahead of the aging NES, when in 1990, the NES had its best years when Super Mario Bros. 3 came out. However, from what most people call the best console fight ever (it will be for a very long time) in 1991, with NEC’s machine out of the picture, it was a long battle between the SNES and Genesis for the power to be called the #1 system in America. I would say that the Genesis had a slight edge over Nintendo from 91 to 94, until the crazy add-ons finally caught up with Sega and Nintendo began to pull away with their Mode 7 and Super FX chips. However, the Genesis lived on until 1997, when its last games were made, along with the last model of it (which was really, really tiny.) Overall, the Genesis lasted for 8 years, Had 3 system models, and had over 700 games made for it. What really killed the Genesis were 2 add-ons, the 32X and Sega CD. I will not go into those, because I didn’t have them and they aren’t the Genesis. But what kept it afloat is Sega’s mascot, Sonic the hedgehog. It is always he and Mario in the greatest gaming characters ever (which I predicted in the character battle, and some people didn’t agree with me did they?) Along with Miles (tails) the Fox, Knuckles the Echidna (unknown fact: An Echidna is one of the few egg laying mammals on Earth) and the evil Dr. Robotnik, along with a few other characters (which shall remain nameless, because I never liked them) really pulled the Genesis along and gave it the edge.

The Genesis has quite a bit of power behind it, easily much better then the NES or the TG-16. However, the SNES has everything better then what the Genesis has: the pure processing power. The SNES had much more colors to work with, and they also put special chips inside the games to make them look better then if they didn’t. the Genesis didn’t get much of that. Nope, they stayed with those small, black, sleek cartridges that I grew up with. It seems that the Genesis was flawed in all hardware except for one thing. Pure processing speed. The Genesis has a twice as fast CPU then the SNES, meaning that in all the games, you have little to no slowdown on the screen. Most of the games on the Genesis looked a bit darker then there SNES cousin, mostly because Sega was supposed to be the more mature console and they had less colors on screen on work with (56 or 96 to 256 if I remember correctly) so everything was, to a little boy, “cooler” or so Sega hoped. It did work. However, once games began getting more advanced, the Genesis began to look weaker to the SNES, because it could make a game like DKC. Once the Sega Saturn came out, Sega just stopped trying to make good games for the Genesis, and that is how it ended. 2-D went dormant. With the Genesis’s special graphics with it.
Best Looking game: Vectorman

The Genesis had more action and sports titles then the SNES, however, it lacked in the RPG department greatly. The Genesis has at least one stellar title for every genre. Most of them were made by Sega Themselves, but the fighters, and shooters stand as the only one that I can think of off-hand not to have a good Sega title. E-mail me if I am wrong though. Platformers, you had Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, and 3. Simple as that. RPG, you had Phantasy Star 2&4. Adventure, you get your hands on some Toe Jam and Earl. Shooters? Contra: Hard Corps and Gradius (and Zero Wing, but let’s not go there.). Fighters? How about King of Fighters and Street Fighter. Puzzule you say? Sega Swirl. The list goes on and on and on. The games were great. You really needed the 2nd type of controller to play some games though (the first controller for the Genesis has 3 main buttons, labeled ABC the 2nd has 6, labeled ABCXYZ.. The 2nd design also is a small controller.) And it really applied if you want to play a fighter. That Genesis controller was great for fighters, unless you got a 3rd party pad, which could break on you.

However, the biggest flaw with the Genesis (other them add ons) was sound. The Genesis didn’t have one of the best sound chips, and it shows when you play a few games and then go play the SNES form of the game. I know I know! I do a lot of comparison of the SNES to Genesis, but what could I compare it to? The 3D0? Exactly what I thought.
Sega’s best console could make some impressive music though. I personally liked the music in Phantasy Star 4 to be of my liking very much. However, some music just sucks. Like a catfish. Of course, these are the exception, these were just bad games in the first place. Take this game, played here by young Johnny Scmedvic. This game is called “Shaq Fu” and should be feared by everyone with an IQ over a jar a low fat Pam. Here, we have one of my friends, who wish to be nameless. Tell me friend, what do you think of this game, Barney’s Hide and Seek?
“Well there my hard rocking amigo, I think I should get some jellied gasoline and burn this game like a Roman candle. That should teach it who’s his daddy.”
Well, put friend, well put. So, we have 2 bad examples, and a good one. Genesis sound: most likely the worst of the 3 16 bit systems on an average, really. This is really the worst flaw that the Genesis has, and stopped me from getting a better grade in my book.

There you have it folks, the Sega Genesis, from start to finish. Bad? No. The best system ever? No. It was just as is: one damn good system. You got it all. Well deserving of the 8 that I am about it give it. The Genesis is still a darn good buy, and you can get one for about 14 dollars it you look around. The games are about 5 dollars each, so you can get the best games. If you haven’t gotten a chance to play this, then I suggest you buy it, or if you are lucky enough, finding a Sega Nomad, which plays Genesis games on the go (I got one, but I lost my battery pack ;_;) Trust me, everyone can love the Sega Genesis.

Reviewer’s Score: 8/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/22/02, Updated 09/22/02

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