Tuesday, November 25, 2014

At Games Handheld Genesis system

Over the past decade I have seen the return in modified form of all the home consoles I loved as a kid. Starting with the Atari Flashback,which is up to the fifth version now.

A few weeks back I had to run to Walgreens, While waiting on someone I started looking around. And found an end cap full of these retro systems. Saw an Intellivision one,the Atari Flashback 5,At Games home console Genesis with wireless controllers and 80 built in games. But there was one I had never seen before. It was a portable Genesis with 80 games total. I was tempted but they wanted $50 a system. Way more than I wanted to pay.

Skip ahead a few weeks. I had been trying to think of what to get my cousin's two boys for X-mas. They both love video games and last time I visited them we spent a bunch of time playing a Genesis collection on the X-box 360. I was looking at the sale ads in the Sunday paper. Saw that Walgreens had all those systems marked down to 35 bucks. Which is a bit more than I spend on each kid. But what the hell it is X-mas. Ran to the store and grabbed the portable Genesis and the home console version.

I have no idea what makes this a collector's edition. But I do like the packaging. Smart move putting Sonic and whoever that is from Virtua Fighter on the front. They are the only two that modern kids will know. Also notice how it says 80 built in games. There is 80 games,40 of them are Genesis games. The rest are homebrews.
Damn that is a lot of empty space in the box. Now I didn't think the system would be huge. But it is a bit smaller than I thought. As you can see you get the system,instructions and a charger cable. The system comes with a rechargable battery in it. And you recharge it by hooking it into a usb port. Not a bad idea. It looks to be a standard USB cord so if you lose this one it shouldn't be hard to replace it.
I love how in the instruction book they not only tell you a bit about each game. But explain the controls. It is small touches like that ,that make a good product stand out from a bad one.
I threw the nearest DVD into the pic to give yall an idea of the size of the system. I would say it is slightly wider than a DS lite. But about as tall. And not as thick. On the left you got your d-pad. Which from about an hour of play feels good. Right above it is the menu button. Which you can push at anytime to go back to the menu. On the right is the 6 buttons. The smaller row is x ,y and z. The bigger row is a,b and c. They feel almost like the ones on the old Genesis 6 button controller.The red light below them is the battery level indicator. And right above them is the start button. It is the only button I don't like the placement of. It just feels odd reaching up for it.Oh forgot the speaker is on the left below the d-pad. And the sound is pretty good. No idea if the sounds are 100% matching the sounds on a real Genesis,mostly because I haven't played a real Genesis in years. But they sound right to me. The screen is much better than I expected. No ghosting or such with fast movement. And it is nice and bright.

Here's the top of the system. First off we have an AV port. Yes you can buy a cable and hook this up to your TV. Next to is the USB port. Then in the middle is the SD card slot. I will talk more about that in a bit. On the right is the volume control. I like that you can connect this to a TV.I got a cable that came with my portable DVD player that works on this. In the instruction book it includes directions on how to hook this up to a HD tv and what to set your contrast,brightness ,etc levels to when doing this. I hooked it up to the tv in the living room and it looked good. As good as when I hook my Dreamcast up and use the Genesis emulator. I love the placement of the volume control. It is easy to reach up and change it while playing a game.
Now onto the bottom. On the left we got an earphone port. With most portable systems I have found that the built in speakers are shit.So I normally use earphones while playing them. The speakers on this system are good. On the right we got the power switch. I like it's placement. I doubt I will bump it when playing a game. Plus with it being a switch not a button it is much harder to accidentally turn the system off.
Yeah the flash makes it hard to see ,but this is the menu screen. They have divided the games up. First batch is the Genesis games. The second batch is the homebrew ones. You get 10 games per screen. In alphabetical order. And when you highlight the games name a screenshot appears on the right.

There it is easier to see the menu screens now.
As you can hopefully see the screen looks great. Bright colors,sharp details. I  wanted to see if it might blur some during the faster moments in Sonic 1. It doesn't.

Now onto the previously mentioned SD cart slot. In the instruction book it tells you how to play games off an SD card. So I got curious and wondered if maybe you could load up Genesis roms onto a SD card and play them on the system. Did some research and it seems like you can't. So I wondered what games you could play. I looked through out the book and there was no mention of this or where to go to get the games. I looked all over the box and finally saw on on side a website listed. Went to the site and right now they got 3 games you can get for free. And then mention that at a later date they will be doing memberships. The games you can get now are similar to the homebrews that are already on the system. I hope they work out a way to offer old Genesis games. If that doesn't happen maybe someone will figure out how to hack the system. Cause sure the system has 40 Genesis games,with a bunch of good ones in that selection.But there is some Genesis games I want to play on here.

Speaking of games here is all the games on the system. With a few quick words about the ones I know.
Alex Kid in the Enchanted Castle-One of the early Genesis games, Alex was their attempt  at a mascot. Not a bad game. But I think the placement of the start button will hurt some in this game.Since you use that button fairly often.
Alien Storm-Really fun side scrolling beat um up.
Altered Beast-The original Genesis pack in game.Still fun after all these years. Even if it was never that deep of a game.
Arrow Flash-Looks to be a shooter. I never played this back in the day. But look forward to playing it now.
Bonanza Bros-Another I have never played. Have heard it called an under rated Genesis game.Looks to be a platformer.
Chakan:The Forever Man-Rented this when it first came out. Liked it but back then the game was way too hard for me. It is a platformer. Neat thing is 2 years ago I got to meet the man who created the character of Chakan. Found out he has made a series of graphic novels,yes real graphic novels not trades or hardcovers or whatever people that don't know better call graphic novels.Now that I am older and have played many more games I am gonna try to finally beat this game.
Columns & Columns 3-Columns was the Genesis Tetris ripoff. Still it is a fun game.Now I am wondering if there was a Columns 2 and if so why it isn't on the system. I have always said puzzle games are perfect for handheld consoles.
Comix Zone-Great side scrolling Beat um up game. Great sound and graphics,but warning this game is extremely hard. I have only beaten it once and that was while using the Game Genie.
Crack Down-Never heard of this one. You run around a building defusing bombs.
Decap Attack-Really fun and wacky side scrolling platformer.
Ecco,Ecco Jr,Ecco II The tides of time-Pretty sure this is every Ecco game for the Genesis.You play as a dolphin that has to save his pod. I only played the first game in the series. It was decent. But a bit harder than I expected it to be. The background music is really good. And the graphics and character animation is well done. I plan on trying to beat at least the first one.
ESWAT City under siege-I love this game. You are a cop that has a mecha suit. This is a game where it isn't super hard,but also not easy.
Eternal Champions-During the early 90s trend of 2d fighting games this was Sega's entry.From what I remember it was well done. The hard part now is going to be relearning all the fighters special moves again.
Fatal Labyrinth-Seems to be a RPG strategy game.Not a big fan of that type of game.But it is nice to see some variety in the game selection.
Flicky-This is a  simple but really fun game. You play a momma bird that has to rescue all her chicks.It is a game that is simple to play but hard to master.
Gain Ground-Looks like another strategy game. Might give it a shot one day.
Golden Axe 1,2 and 3-It was good ports of arcade games like Golden Axe that had all us kids wanting a Genesis back in the day.Golden Axe 1 is a game I still go back and play. Hell it was the one my little cousins and I had the most fun playing on that previously mentioned X-box 360 Sega collection. Part 2 improves the graphics and stuff.3 I have never played. I seem to remember it didn't get a release in the USA. I think it might have been available on the Sega Channel.
Jewel Master-No clue what this game is. From the screen shots I think it might be a puzzle game.
Kid Chameleon-Another platformer. Rented it once Decades ago,remember it being fun. But also fairly hard.
Mean Bean Machine-A great puzzle game. For years my mother had a Genesis emulator on her computer just for this game.
Ristar-After Sonic was a huge hit lots of companies tried to make their own mascot. Ristar was part of that cycle of games. From the little I have played it,it is fun. With a cute look to all of the graphics.
Shadow Dancer-Part of the Shinobi series of games. You are a ninja that goes from the left to the right killing bad guys with various ninja weapons. This game has really good music.
Shinobi III return of the ninja master-IIRC Shadow Dancer was Shinobi 2. So this is the sequel. Never played it.But if it is like the other Shinobi games on the Genesis it is worth playing.
Sonic and Knuckles-Sort of Sonic 4. This was the first time that you got to play as Knuckles. One drawback is on a Genesis you could plug Sonic 2 or 3 into the top of Sonic and Knuckles and play as Knuckles in each game. I haven't checked but I doubt you can do that on here.Still it is a really good Sonic game.
Sonic Spinball-Sonic becomes the pinball in a fun video pinball game.Fun but sometimes frustrating game.
Sonic 1 & Sonic 2-Sonic is the game that got lots of people to get a Genesis.And it is still very fun today. Sonic 2 I never owned.I am looking forward to playing it soon.
Sonic 3d Blast-The other Sonic game on the Genesis I never played. It has an isometric view that normally I hate in games.
Streets of Rage 1,2 and 3-Streets 1 is my favorite non-RPG Genesis game ever. This series was basically Sega's version of the arcade hit Final Fight. But with much better music. The music in these games is the only video game music I will listen to outside of the game. I just played and beat part 2 a week ago.Each game improves on the previous one. And all three are worth playing.
The Ooze-Never heard of this game and so far haven't played it yet.
Vectorman 1 and 2-These came out late in the Genesis's life. They are fun platformers. With great graphics.
Virtua Fighter 2-Kind of wondering why part 2 is on here instead of part 1.Never been a fan of Virtua Figher. But this port isn't bad.

And as far as the homebrew games. Well all of them look like flash games I would have played back in the early 2000s. I would have rather they dropped all the homebrews and threw in 10 more Genesis games.

Now is this a good deal? In most stores I see it costing between 40 and 50 bucks. Checked Amazon and they wanted 55 for it. At those prices I would say no.But I got this for $35. Which is much better. Went in expecting the controls to feel mushy.The screen to be shit and the speakers to be bad. I was wrong.One thing I would like to know is how long the battery last on a charge.All through out this review I mention how I am going to enjoy playing various games. And this is after I said I bought this for my cousin's kids. Well that is true. I grabbed it for them. But after testing it out I am now going to get myself one.Saw an ad from Dollar General where on Thanksgiving they are going to have these for $25. And it is worth that much. Hell if you find it for $35 and under it is worth is. The system seems to be well made. The screen is much much better than I expected. And there is a good mixture of the Genesis games. At Games Handheld Genesis System gets a B.