Review by Swordlord

"As flexible as consoles get"

Sega Genesis was created in 1989. The Genesis, or Mega Drive, as it is called everywhere in the world except for the United States and Canada, is the first true 16-bit system. Sega's first console successful in North America finally gave the signal for the 8-bit gaming world that it's time to move on. It made the first true leap forward, doubling the power of the CPU and the graphics processors, and started the first real competition between game companies.

1)Software: The Genesis was finally a powerful enough console to play decent ports of arcade games. Consequently, there were many such games available for it, especially fighting games. Mortal Kombat 1, II, 3 and Ultimate 3, as well as Street Fighter II: Special Edition and Super II come to mind. Even though there were fewer games made for the Genesis than the NES, there was still much diversity among games; unlike the games of today, that are almost all 3-D, ultra-realistic games, Genesis games were still divided into 2-D, 2.5-D or 3-D and side-scrolling, 1st-person or bird's-eye view games. The sports games still weren't very well done but, due to the fact that there are a lot of them, especially NFL, NBA and NHL (and even Electronic Arts started making their FIFA series), there is much to pick from. Also, nobody can forget Sega's mascot, which stood up to the extremely-popular Mario, namely the super-fast hedgehog, Sonic. Some great game makers, though, like Konami, still preferred making games for Nintendo's systems. 34% out of 40%

2)Aspect: The Sega Genesis doesn't look all that great, but it is smaller and smoother than most previous consoles and even has red lights that let you know when the power is on. (Now you can't just turn off the TV with the remote and tell your mother you were sleeping!) 3% out of 6%

3)Power: As I previously mentioned, the Genesis was basically the first 16-bit console. It beat the NES hands down when it appeared, but had problems later on when the SNES, with its Mode-7 and more colours, came into existence. Different upgrades helped the Genesis with regards to sound. The Genesis was also capable of handling speed better than the SNES. The colour palette consists of 512 colours, 64 on screen, which were much fewer compared with the SNES'. Obviously, many players say that Genesis games are grainy, but I think I would disagree with that; the SNES is just better at displaying colourful images. I have to make comparisons between these 2 systems because they went head-to-head for many years, fighting for supremacy. I also have to stay true to the scale I mentioned in my previous review, though. 10% out of 15%

4)Fidelity: I must say, Sega cared a bit more about their customers than Nintendo. Sega even agreed with the marketing of Galoob's Game Genie for the Genesis. (The Game Genies are different from system to system, by the way, in case someone didn't know.) There were 3 different versions of the Mega Drive released and they all worked fine. Seeing the popularity of the GameBoy, Sega also released a Sega Nomad, which is a portable Genesis (Yes, with screen -- in full colour(!) -- and 6 buttons!). Various upgrades, more than for any other system, graced this console. The games released on other continents are as high-quality as the American ones and most don't even have lock-out chips, meaning they can be played on any Mega Drive/Genesis machine. Even better, there are language switches, between English and Japanese, but you kind of have to know what you're doing in order to switch them which way you want them. With an adaptor, one can even play Master System games on the Genesis. No Game Gear games, though. And a few of the upgrades were expensive and not very well supported, regarding software. Last, but not least, Sega was not afraid to allow bloody games on its Genesis -- see Mortal Kombat 1 and Splatterhouse 2 and 3. 25% out of 30%

5)Accessories: If you buy a Genesis now, you usually get a 3-button controller with the console and the necessary wires (2 controllers, if you're lucky). But that's enough for most games. However, should you feel the need to play Street Fighter games, there are 6-button controllers available. And yes, the Genesis has a light gun, too -- the hugest (called ''The Menacer'',cute, huh?) -- but there are very few games for it and it runs on batteries. Arcade sticks, analogue pads and infra-red control pads can also enhance your gameplay experience. Baseball controllers and golf controllers were also released, for the joy of the Americans. (There are even more accessories, honestly.) And now, finally, I must mention the: Sega CD and Sega 32X -- two upgrades, add-ons to the Genesis, that helped the sound capabilities and even the overall power of the Genesis. They didn't prolong its life, but sure made it even more fun. 9% out of 9%

Total: 81% out of 100%. Even if you're a new gamer, I would still recommend a Genesis and even its 2 major upgrades. I've never seen a Genesis game freeze or show distorted images. If you prefer fast, nicely coloured, cartoony games to slow, 3-D games that sometimes get incredibly boring, then the Genesis is for you. From Swordlord, 3 swords up!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/11/03, Updated 07/11/03

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