Author Topic: Genesis Mini: Anyone else excited?  (Read 30711 times)

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Offline ejamer

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Re: Genesis Mini: Anyone else excited?
« Reply #75 on: November 28, 2022, 02:05:45 PM »
Mixed feelings about Genesis Mini 2.

The game lineup has some real winners - especially if you enjoy shmups - but a lot of questionable choices too.

Sega CD selection is a huge disappointment. Missing Lunar and Popful Mail hurts, since we know the Japanese release included them. Including a cult classic like Snatcher or even Rise of the Dragon would've gone a long way to make up for that, but apparently licensing wasn't in the cards there either. Final Fight, Shining Force CD, and Sonic CD admittedly look great. Everything else is a bit meh (or worse - Ninja Warriors and Night Striker just aren't good games).

As for included regular Genesis games, a handful will either appeal to a very niche crowd who hold nostalgia for bad games... or perhaps to nobody at all. (Apologies to any Clay Fighter "fans" that might be out there. You are a rare breed.)  It's disappointing that we still didn't get MUSHA in North America - Robo Aleste is close, but considered a lesser game by most reviewers - any representation from the Mortal Kombat series, hidden gem platformers like Rocket Knight or Pulseman, cult favorite RPGs like Shadowrun or Warriors of the Eternal Sun, or any sports games at all. Licensing probably made the top sports game choices impossible; but what about the very cool Mutant League series?

Then you get to the bonus games, which also fail to excite. They aren't terrible if viewed as curiosities and true bonus items... but only Fantasy Zone and the tweaked Space Harrier II feel like full experiences worthy of taking a full slot on the list of games included. Puyo Puyo Sun sounds awesome - until you realize that it's just the vs mode from that game, included on a mini-console that only provides one controller out of the box (which kind of sums up a lot of my feelings about questionable game selection overall).

And yet, once the initial disappointment at what is "missing" subsides, I came to accept that the Genesis Mini 2 offers a lot of great content! Fans of action games know that Shinobi titles are always a welcome sight, and we also get to jump into Granada, Rolling Thunder 2, Ranger X and more. Shmup fans have a wealth of options to choose from; I've loved my time with Truxton, Elemental Master, Lightening Force, and Hellfire so far and look forward to exploring others soon. Strategy RPG fans should be excited to see Shining Force getting excellent representation. There are also some solid racing games, arcade experiences, platformers, and fighting games to mix up the genres available.

Value can be a tough discussion, because no two people value things the same way. Genesis Mini 2 saw a significant price hike - partly due to shipping fees from Japan - over the original Genesis Mini, but if you are the type of person who prefers to buy your games instead of emulate there still may be justification for picking one up! Purchasing rare titles like Shining Force CD, Crusader of Centy, Splatterhouse 2, Elemental Master, Streets of Rage 3, and Alien Soldier would set you back a pretty penny elsewhere. The original cartridge for just one of those games might end up costing your more than this entire collection. Also noteworthy is that many games on the Genesis Mini 2 are being re-released for the first time. Gems like Atomic Runner, Desert Strike, Earthworm Jim 2, Granada, Herzog Zwei and a handful of others aren't available in other Genesis collections.

(If, on the other hand, you prefer to emulate then there doesn't seem to be much value in paying for specific hardware or collections of retro games anyway. This whole discussion probably isn't useful for you.)

The system itself is pretty solid. M2 does a solid job with emulation, although there is a slight audio delay, and they've packed the Genesis Mini 2 with more feature than the original. Sure, additional background images aren't that exciting... but being able to select and switch between audio modes that emulate the Genesis and Genesis 2 sound chipset is cool and has a significant difference when playing some games. I'm also a fan of the new option to adjust how responsive the menu button is - one of my complaints when using the six-button controller with the original Genesis Mini was getting unceremoniously dropped out of gameplay with the slightest tap of the menu trigger, an issue that is now entirely fixed for me.

Menu interface and game display options are essentially unchanged. It's a shame they didn't revamp the menu screen by using an approach similar to the PC Engine Mini - that mini-console had a lively menu with cool sounds and animations when loading a game - but the Genesis menu is functional and works well enough. Background music isn't as appealing as the original mini, but watching the attract mode scroll through openings for all the games if you leave the system untouched for a few minutes is still reasonably entertaining.

The six button controller is awesome. It's responsive and comfortable, and just generally a great piece of kit. Sadly they only include one inside the box, so fans of couch co-op or competition will need to track down an extra before they can share their gaming time. (Lucky for me, I purchased one six-button controller when the first Genesis Mini came out, so this ended up working well for us here... but  it's doubtful that many others can say the same.)

One missed opportunity is failing to include any form of digital manual for the games. Sega hosts PDF files for instruction manuals on the Genesis Mini 2 website and uses a QR code to refer gamers there for information, instead of giving an option to view the original manuals directly from the console. Perhaps there is a separate copyright license needed for the printed materials that prevents mini-consoles from providing this? Or the space concerns (PDF files take up roughly 260 MB) made them leave this feature out? Regardless, having replicas of the original manuals included with the system would have been much more convenient and valuable for gamers who may not want to jump to a separate device when learning how a game works.

In summary, there is a lot for hardcore retro fans to like here. Genesis Mini 2 probably isn't well-suited to casual fans who won't recognize many of the games, or people who are unwilling to invest enough time into obscure and non-obvious controls to learn to appreciate what is here. But if you are someone going out of your way to read this thread, then it just might be worthwhile for you.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2022, 04:51:29 PM by ejamer »
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