After much speculation Sega gear up to follow in the footsteps of Nintendo, and hopefully not Sony, by bringing one of their most popular consoles to a modern audience in mini format. Sega has dabbled with this concept previously by licencing production of a ‘Flashback’ unit to AT Games. Unfortunately, poor emulation, the addition of unofficial ROMs and subpar performance left many fans disappointed.
The Mega Drive Mini promises to be a faithful recreation of the late 80’s early 90’s console that benefits from the inclusion of some quality of life improvements. Out of the box, you will receive a mini-console complete with HDMI output, two wired three button controllers and a selection of the finest games pre-installed on the unit itself allowing for plug and play bliss.
At this point, Sega has officially confirmed 30 of the included games from a promised total of 40. There are a few alternatives depending on your region of residence but, as it stands, you will be treated to the following:
- Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
- Altered Beast
- Beyond Oasis
- Castle of Illusion
- Castlevania: Bloodlines
- Comix Zone
- Contra: Hard Corps
- Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Earthworm Jim
- Ecco the Dolphin
- Ghouls ‘N Ghosts
- Golden Axe
- Gunstar Heroes
- Mega Man: The Wily Wars
- Phantasy Star 4
- Shining Force
- Shinobi 3
- Sonic Spinball
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- Space Harrier 2
- Street Fighter 2: Special Champion Edition
- Streets of Rage 2
- Super Fantasy Zone
- Thunder Force 3
- ToeJam & Earl
- Wonder Boy in Monster World
- World of Illusion
The remaining roster is still up in the air, there are games that can instantly be dismissed due to licencing issues (Sonic 3) and some beat’em up titles that due to the lack of a 6 button pad seem unlikely but that doesn’t stop us hoping. Let’s take a look at our hot picks as the September launch date looms.
Columns was Sega’s attempt to provide fans with a Tetris style experience after acquiring the rights to the game in the late ’80s. The premise was similar and involved matching falling gems by colour. The rest, well the rest is pretty universally known at this point. We think it would sit right at home on the Sega mini console and sit in harmony with that evil Robotnik’s beans.
Getting EA on board would open the floodgates for a number of classic titles to be added to the already impressive library. The first of our two EA picks in this wishlist would be epic Apache helicopter shooter Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf. Set over five thrilling stages our heroic crew must stop General Kilbaba and his reign of terror by reclaiming each area in aerial combat played out on an isometric point of view.
This action platformer was developed by Treasure and published by Sega. The game follows protagonist Headdy (a puppet who can throw his own head) on a quest to save the world from the evil puppet king. At the time of release, it received critical praise and established itself as one of the finer examples in the genre. The two companies had previously worked together on a number of titles, notably Gunstar Heroes, which brings us along nicely to our next offering.
Gunstar Heroes is a run and gun shooting platform game that originally released back in September of 1993. It would be the perfect inclusion on the mini which also releases in September of this year. The game offers co-op play, weapon upgrades and acrobatic manoeuvres as the battle against an evil empire ensues. The concept of Gunstar was initially the vision of a small team working for Konami before they broke away and formed their own company, Treasure, to see the project through to completion.
Everyone felt the pain of falling off the table on the last corner and finishing second. This racer themed around the toy range of the same name offered a fun pick-up and play multiplayer experience for all. It also fills a slot on the list in the racer genre.
Sun blazing, rubber-burning, roof down this is arcade racing action at its best! Outrun was praised for its visuals and innovative features backed up by a thumping soundtrack. Set over five destinations the aim was to avoid the traffic, beat the time and finish first. This was one of Sega’s best selling games in the arcade and on home consoles.
Another successful platform adventure but this time around you play a star with hands and feet. While the game never got the sequel it deserved its legacy continues with constant re-releases on modern console iterations. Visuals were appealing with a cartoon-like charm and played in a similar vein to Sonic or Mario.
For our second offering from EA we turn to the brutal and racer epic Road Rash. Set in a world of illegal road racing the aim was simple, win by any means necessary. Featuring an alternate two-player mode it was an instant hit for gamers. The game was so successful it spawned a heap of sequels and was ported to pretty much any console of the time.
Rocket Knight Adventures
A fearless knight, a warrior, a mouse. That’s correct its the 1993 side scroller Rocket Knight Adventures developed by king of the time Konami. It was from the minds that gave us Contra, The Alien Wars and Hard Corps so we knew we were in safe hands. This story followed Sparkster in a classic save the world romp.
Sonic & Knuckles
We conclude our list with Sega’s mascot Sonic the Hedgehog. We’ve already had the first two instalments confirmed along with his spin-off pinball outing so this seems like an obvious inclusion. Especially factoring in the issues that face Sonic 3 around the use of licenced music which has kept it off so many previous collections and best of offerings. This game features everyone’s favourite Echidna for more of the same action.
Well, that’s our list complete. Do you agree with our hot picks? We’d love to hear what titles would make your list in the comments section, on Twitter or Facebook!