Let's get the comparison we have to make out of the way: no, the Genesis Flashback is not as amazing as the SNES Classic. But it's still pretty good if you like the games.
While Nintendo set the world on fire with its nostalgia journey in the 90s, your 16-bit wishes are rather unconventional. You may enjoy your games with a little more violence and / or hedgehogs. AtGames is offering the Sega Genesis Flashback HD, an all-in-one console for $ 79.99, due to be released on November 10th. Not only is this Genesis full of classic games, it also does what Nintendon & # 39; t doesn't – you can use your original Genesis tapes and controls. This feature is not perfect, but a nice addition if it works.
You may have heard some not so good things about Genesis Flashback. AtGames sent test samples to various outlets in July, including Kotaku. As we compiled our reports, a flood of unfavorable reviews came in – Gizmodo called it "hot garbage" for example – and quoted shaky controllers and delayed gameplay. AtGames remembered the test devices and said they mistakenly assumed that the firmware was unfinished earlier.
A few weeks later we received an updated version on which this rating is based. While not every Flashback HD issue has been fixed, the most important ones have. The controllers work and the emulation is no longer choppy. This means that the system now lives up to its basic promise that you can play precise Genesis games on your HD TV. Hooray!
The Sega Genesis Flashback HD is smaller than an actual Genesis, but also larger than two SNES Classics combined. However, this is understandable due to the actually working cartridge slot, which limits how small this thing can really be while maintaining the classic Genesis proportions. It has a power supply (not USB) and an HDMI output.
The device contains two wireless controllers, each of which requires two AAA batteries (not included). The design is based on the six-button Genesis controller that Sega introduced around the same time that Street Fighter II launched its hardware. They feel a little light and hollow, but they work well. With a switch on the top of each controller, you can choose to control Player 1 or Player 2.
The Flashback has a rewind function, although it is not as elegant as the SNES Classic. It simply jumps back six seconds in the game and automatically plays it again until you decide to step in. This is done by pressing a special rewind button on the wireless controller. The controllers also have a menu button that allows you to invoke a menu overlay during the game, which allows you to save and load your game in one of ten memory locations per game, as well as toggle a single rudimentary scanline filter on and off. This way you can also exit the game and return to the main menu of the system without having to get up from the couch that is missing from the SNES Classic.
If you want more authenticity, the Flashback supports classic Genesis controllers via physical ports on the front. This also worked well for me, although in the end I only tested a few standard Genesis controllers and no third-party things. Of course, classic Genesis controllers don't have a rewind button, but if you hold the directional pad left and press start, the rewind function is activated. This is handy, but worries that I might accidentally press it.
It is getting difficult in the system menu. See the menu screen? Would you imagine that you would press up and down on the directional pad to navigate from "Cartridge Slot" to "Favorites" and "Recent"? You fool. All you have to do is press the B and C buttons on the controller. The rest of the menu functions are just as unintuitive and you will probably press the wrong key several times even after days of playing. (Do not accidentally press down on the directional pad when you open the submenu or you will be booted out of a game immediately!)
With Flashback, you can play Genesis games from your original cartridges. When you put a game in the slot and turn on the system, the entire game is downloaded to memory and played in the same emulator that the built-in games are played on, with the same functions – even when saving slots. However, the compatibility is incomplete. I've tested it on a variety of games, such as:
- A US copy of Growl, a Taito shooter
- A U.S. copy of the third-party game Bubsy
- A European copy of the Lion King
- A Japanese copy of Battletoads
Joshua, an unlicensed biblical game
- Various Taiwanese multi-game bootleg cartridges
Pier Solar, an unlicensed role-playing game released in 2010
In general, I found that unlicensed games didn't work at all. Most of them simply never "moved" into memory when the system was switched on, and the "Cartridge Slot" option remained grayed out in the menu. Pier Solardumped, but it crashed when I tried to run it.
On the other hand, games from all areas seemed to run flawlessly as long as they were officially licensed Sega products. The Lion King, Battletoads, and Bubsy all worked regardless of the area in which they were originally published. The only licensed game that I had a lot of trouble with was Dashin & # 39; Desperadoes, a split screen multiplayer game. The game ran flawlessly until the split screen mode was started and everything broke. This makes me think that the emulator in the flashback doesn't know how to deal with this graphics mode.
Would I buy a Flashback HD to replace a standard Genesis? Absolutely not. The compatibility is far too low. But if you only have a few standard, licensed Sega games in the house, this additional feature may be a nice bonus.
The box for the Sega Genesis Flashback HD contains 85 games. That sounds impressive and is legally correct. However, it does not contain 85 Sega Genesis games. It contains 45 Sega Genesis games, 14 Sega Master System games, 7 Game Gear games and 19 random paddle parts like Checkers and Air Hockey that you should never play.
So it really contains 66 games from Sega. That's more than three times the games on SNES Classic, but where Nintendo has chosen a very careful balance between the best games the system has to offer and also Super Ghouls & # 39; n Ghosts, AtGames & # 39; Range of Genesis software, let's say, Scattershot.
Here are the current Sega games:
Genesis: Alex Kidd in the enchanted castle, Alien Storm, Altered Beast, Pfeilblitz, Bonanza Brothers, Chakan: The Forever Man, columns, columns III, Comix Zone, Crack Down, Decap Attack, Dr. Robotniks Mean Bean Machine, ESWAT, Eternal Champions, Deadly Labyrinth, Flicky, Gain Ground, Golden Ax, Golden Ax II, Golden Ax III, Jewel Master, Children's Chameleon, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, Mortal Kombat III, Fantasy Star II, Fantasy Star III, Phantasiestern IV, Ristar, Schattentänzer, Shining in the Darkness, Shining Force, Shining Force II, Shinobi III, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Spinball, Sonic 3D Blast, Super Thunder Blade, sword of vermilion, The Ooze, Vectorman, Vectorman 2, Virtua Fighter 2.
Master system: Alex Kidd in the wonder world, Alex Kidd: high-tech world, Alex Kidd: the lost stars, city of attack, astro warrior, dragon crystal, fantasy zone, fantasy zone: the labyrinth, kenseiden, kung fu child, fantasy star , Psycho Fox, Snail Maze, The Ninja.
Game equipment: Baku Baku, Defender of the Oasis, Sonic Chaos, Sonic Drift 2, Sonic Triple Trouble, Super Pillars, Tail Adventure.
With this game list, it's either a feast or a famine. When a particular franchise is represented, they go all the way. If you are a fan of a particular Mister Sonic T. Hedgehog, you will be very happy. The same applies if you want to delve deeply into a Sega RPG series like Shining Force and Phantasy Star or if you are one of the last die-hard fans of Alex Kidd.
Otherwise it's a whole lot of filler. I could have played Crack Down, Psycho Fox, Sword of Vermilion, or any number of other B-tier games on this system all my life. And the Genesis versions of Mortal Kombat weren't exactly the culmination of arcade-quality perfection, even if the first one had the “blood code”.
This is not a selection of the best offers from Genesis. Gunstar heroes? The entire Streets of Rage series? Castlevania: bloodlines? MUSHA? Splatterhouse? I'm literally just looking at the list of games that have already been released on Virtual Console. AtGames may be limited in what it allows to bet on the system, but Sega should at least be a little ashamed of it. It would be great to see the two companies get together and produce something that actually reflects the best games on the platform.
The Sega Genesis Flashback HD has an irritating menu system and a random selection of games. But it plays the games it has accurately and comfortably, which is a big step up for AtGames. The previous Genesis hardware used far cheaper solutions, which meant that the graphics and especially the sound were notoriously terrible. Fortunately, these are not these products. (These products are still on the shelves, so don't buy them accidentally if you're looking for them!)
I would imagine that many Genesis fans will be amazed that their favorites are not here, but if you're a big Sonic, Phantasy Star, or Golden Ax fan who wants to reclaim this magic, this could do the job She.