Review by benjones1blj

"The Best Console Ever"

In 1990, Sega released the MegaDrive in Europe. Between 1990 and 1994 this console would knock Nintendo and NES of the top of the US Market, and the console would give birth to one of gaming’s most famous characters, Sonic The Hedgehog.

Console Looks:
The Mega Drive was the first console to be all black. The Mega Drive Mk 1 is a flat rectangle and the cartridge slot is off center. Underneath the console are the words 16-bit and the on/off switch is in the bottom left corner and the words MegaDrive SEGA is in the bottom left corner. The Mk 1 looks cool and the colour certainly set it out from Nintendo consoles (which at this time were usually white and grey). There were to other version of the MegaDrive, The Mk 2 version of the console was smaller and the cartridge slot is in the center. The 3rd version of the console, the Genesis 3 is even smaller but it didn’t look as good as the Mk 2. There was also a handheld version of the console, much like the Game Gear was to the Master System, the Nomad was poor in comparison to the original console and it ate batteries.

Graphics: The MegaDrive featured good graphics. They were certainly better than the 8-bit machines but the MD could not do the sprite scaling and other techniques the SNES could. However the MD was a lot faster than the SNES so most of the game were quite fast. The MegaDrive only had a colour pallet of 512 but it used these colours very well, just look at Sonic The Hedgehog and it sequels and it shows.

Sound: The MegaDrive feature pretty good sound and some of the music featured in its games was catchy, like Outruns magical sound shower and Sonic 1 Green Hill Zone and Sonic Theme. The sound effects in the games sound better than what came before. However the MegaDrive’s real claim to fame was it ws the first console to feature running commentary in a sports game.

Controller: The MegaDrive controller was designed well but featured only three action buttons, a D-Pad and a start button. While the amount buttons worked O.K. with some platform game (e.g. Sonic which all 3 buttons did the same thing) but was poor for beat-em-ups (which probably explains why the SNES version of Street Fighter 2 was better). Sega did remedy this by releasing a 6 button control pad which was great for beat-em-ups but was not a comfortable as the original 3 button pad.

Games: When you think of the MD you think of Sonic The Hedgehog. This game put the MD on top and created a character, which is just as recognized as Mario. Also the MD has the some the best sports game ever created and host the first editions of Madden and FIFA football. It also featured some of Sega best arcade games at the time, such as Space Harrier, Outrun and Hang-On. However, although the Mega Drive had some good beat-em-ups (Eternal Champions and Streets of Rage), it only ever got 1 version of Street Fighter 2, which was exclusive to the SNES. The only major flaw in the MegaDrive’s software lineup was the lack of RPG’s, it only featured about a dozen in its entire software lineup, the best being the Phantasy Star sequals.

Extra Features: The MegaDrive is the first console to feature back compatibility with the Master System, through use of the Power Base Converter. Also the MegaDrive featured several (poorly thought out) upgrades. The first enabled the MegaDrive to play CD-roms, The Mega CD was released in 1992, there were a few good games for it, but it was mostly FMV rubbish. The second one was even worse, the Mega Drive 32x was released, it died after a few months.

The MegaDrive was the best 16bit console available. Although the games didn’t look as good as the SNES, they played faster. Also the MegaDrive feature some great innovation in the from of backwards compatibility. If you are looking for a great retro console you couldn’t do far wrong. Definately better than the SNES, in fact the Best Console Ever.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 02/23/04

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