Sega Mega Drive Mini in review: retro nostalgia for the good

Choosing a console is one of the first important decisions that your life makes when you still don't even know where the wind is blowing. If you are around 30 years old and you grew up in the video game jungle of the 90s, you will most likely have to choose between Sega and Nintendo, something that not just any toddler can bring to fruition without getting a few hours of sleep along the way. .

To solve the dilemma, the only sources of information we had at that time was to browse magazines such as the mythical "Hobby Consoles" and try the games that were on display in large supermarkets such as Pryca or Mamut (full of hordes of kids waiting for their turn willing to whatever if someone tried to sneak in). Super Nintendo or Mega Drive? That is the point!

Review of the SEGA Mega Drive Mini, a retro game console cared for in detail

In my case, I decided to go for the Super NES, since it was the console that had Final Fight, one of my favorite arcades of all time. What I cannot deny you, yes, is that I was left with a terrible desire to give the Sonic, the Altered Beast, the Streets of Rage and the Dragon Ball games that came out for the Mega Drive. A chapter in my life that I have finally been able to close thanks to the launch of the SEGA Mega Drive Mini last weekend. Is it worth getting one of these consoles?

It must be admitted that here SEGA has had it quite easy, since it has been able to learn from the failures of its “mini” predecessors, thus amending the less attractive details of other similar devices such as the PS Mini, the SNES Mini, the Neo Geo Mini or the Mini NES. Although all this has not prevented him from having the odd slip. But let's go by parts ...

The package

The SEGA Mega Drive Mini comes packaged in a box that features - virtually - the same design as the original Mega Drive, something that helps reinforce the "nostalgia factor" of the product. Inside we find the console, along with two controls, a USB cable for charging (be careful, the charger is missing as in the rest of the consoles), an HDMI cable and a brief instruction manual. A simple but most attractive packaging that transports us to the golden age of 16 bits just by sniffing the packaging.

The console

The overall design of the console is pretty much traced to that of the original Mega Drive, and SEGA has even allowed itself the luxury of including some "fancy" details. On the Super Nintendo Mini, both the cartridge slot and the game eject button were pure ornaments and could not be moved. Here, although the volume button is nothing more than a decorative object, we can play with it, and we can even open the slot and find the hole where the cartridge would go. It is still silly, but they are small details that make the experience much more pleasant.

What's more, SEGA has also launched a collector's edition in Japan with 22 miniature decorative cartridges (which we can insert perfectly) and a base with the MegaCD attachment. Nostalgia factor “Over 9000!”.

The controls

As I mentioned at the beginning, I never had the opportunity to play the Mega Drive in its day, so I cannot know how faithful the controls are compared to the original controllers, although from what I understand they are quite successful. What I can assure you is that the touch in hand is very comfortable, and that the crosshead is the best I've seen in a long time. In that sense, I think he turns the Super Nintendo pad a thousand times. Although yes, it has a great sensitivity (both for the good and the bad as far as playability is concerned).

However, the big problem with this exquisitely built remote is that we are looking at the 3-button version, which implies that we are going to have many problems playing certain games such as Street Fighter II (a game that, by the way, is included in the set). I do not know what is the reason that they have not opted for the 6-button controller, but in any case it is an error that somewhat tarnishes such a well-kept device in the rest of the sections.

Note: If we search Amazon we can find a 6-button gamepad licensed by SEGA, which is what they should have included in this pack, but hey. If we are interested we can buy it separatelyHERE.

Start menu and settings

When starting the console we find the game selection menu. The interface has a very cool, very much in line with what SEGA would have done if it had launched this product 25 years ago. The system also gives us the option of ordering the games by release date, gender or number of players, which allows us to see how the games have evolved over the years, or to contrast titles of the same genre in an orderly manner. All this accompanied by music that recalls some of the best tunes of the time.

To curl the loop, if in the configuration settings we change the language to Japanese, we will be able to see the original covers of the games as they were published in the Japanese country. It is these types of details, which we have not seen in other consoles until now, which make you start to see this mini version of the mythical Genesis with good eyes.

On the other hand, when it comes to image adjustments, the truth is that there is not much to scratch. We can choose between 16: 9 or 4: 3 aspect ratio, as well as 3 wallpapers in case we do not use landscape mode and CRT filter.

The games

If the Super Nintendo Mini had 20 games, SEGA has decided to double the bet by including 40 games in the internal memory of the console. Although there are some forgettable games, the truth is that the list of games is the juiciest: Sonic, Castle of Illusion, Golden Ax, Gouls' n Ghosts, Streets of Rage 2, Kid Chamaleon, Castlevania, Eternal Champions and many more (You can check the complete list HERE).

An interesting detail is that before starting a game, a small tab is shown where we can see information related to the title. So, for example, if we run the Space Harrier II, we will find out that it was the game that accompanied the Mega Drive / Genesis on its release in 1990. Otherwise, the system also includes 3 save slots for each game , which we can use to save our games and resume them at any time.

Regarding the emulation of games, it should be mentioned that SEGA has left aside its usual collaborator AT Games (they did not have a very good reputation) and has hired M2, a prestigious developer known for making very good ports of retro games on modern platforms. If you are interested, here is a small documentary video about M2 where we can learn a little more about this great man.

As far as playability is concerned, the games are totally fluid, and the experience is most satisfactory in both graphics and sound. If we are epicureans of emulation, we may notice some differences with respect to the originals (especially in the audio), but in general we can say that they have done an impeccable job.

To be honest, I must admit that I have been playing all weekend and there has been a moment in which I have noticed some drop in frames, although there have only been two specific “jerks” that have not been played again afterwards. . In any case, although it does not seem relevant, I would like to put this on record.

Price and availability

At the time of writing this review, the Mega Drive Mini is available for 76.99 euros on Amazon.

Final assessment

SEGA has had time to learn from its competitors, and has brought to the market a very refined product, with a quality finish, good controls, iconic games, an interface that takes you back in time and an emulation that is they can put very little fault. In that sense, the Mega Drive Mini is a success and we are probably facing the best classic "Mini" console.

Now, as we have also commented, the system is not free of sin, and we would probably get a better emulation and many more games if we bought a Raspberry with RetroPie and a 6-button gamepad. What this console gives us is a device with the original SEGA brand, full of facilities for us to have a good time in an environment cared to the millimeter and at a price that we could consider more than fair. If it happened to you like me and you missed the opportunity to play the Mega Drive in its day, you may even miss a tear when you plug it in for the first time.

Amazon | Buy Sega Mega Drive Mini

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