Mega Drive Mini: Sega does what Nintendid, twice
To be this good takes M2
Callooh! Callay! O, frabjous day! The Mega Drive (or "Genesis") Mini has finally arrived and it's going to school everyone on how superior the Mega Drive is to the SNES, because Mortal Kombat has blood while the Nintendo version doesn't, David. Sorry, just settling a little debate there. Er, from 1993.
But it's here! It's got 40 (forty!) games packed in, the emulation is by M2 (M2!!) and it includes Castlevania: Bloodlines (BLOODLINES!!!). Yes, Konami's orgy of sins continues by making my recent Castlevania Anniversary Collection wishlist largely redundant, but it's almost worth it to finally be able to play this magnificent lost 'Vania.
Alongside the usual suspects (Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast et al) we have the slightly more leftfield Toejam & Earl and, astoundingly, Earthworm Jim. That's a third-party game, of course, and one that hit other platforms, but the Mega Drive version is excellent and its broad association with Sega's 16-bit makes it an exceptional inclusion.
The fact that M2 are handling the software means it's bound to be a cut above - certainly more faithful than the PlayStation Classic's awkward, stilted stock emulator. Additionally, it's been reported that the Japanese model includes regional variations - you can play Castlevania in its US Bloodlines form or its European The New Generation guise, for what it's worth. It remains to be seen if this functionality will carry over to the Western release, but knowing M2, I'd be surprised if it didn't.
Another boon for the Japanese unit is the inclusion of the expanded six-button controller, rather than the more traditional three-button pad that I grew up with. I personally don't mind the halved button count as the original is what I'd have expected, but it's shame given that the six-button-enhanced Comix Zone has been confirmed as part of the Mini. It's a game that definitely plays more smoothly and intuitively with the extra buttons.
Between now and its release on September 19th (priced at $79.99/£69.99), there are thirty more games to be announced, and the inclusion of an oddity like Bloodlines really opens the flood(blood?)gates for more esoteric wonders. I'd like to see Rocket Knight Adventures on there, myself. It seems like it's going to be a really strong addition to the "Classic Mini" genre. What more can we ask for? Menu music by Yuzo Koshiro?
What!? No! He didn't!!