Is that a Megadrive in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?

It’s not very often I confess to my adulation of the Sega Genesis Megadrive or reading CrunchGear, but in this post I’ll do both.  An article has just popped up on a licensed Portable Genesis Megadrive that you can whack in your pocket and get your early-90s thrills anywhere for just $50.

Now, I don’t need to argue the case for getting one – Genesises Megadrives were awesome, so of course you should – but I’d like to ruminate on the games that come packaged with it.

pocket-megadrive

You too can have oversaturated animals in your pocket for a low, low price!

There’s a copy of the Sega Genesis Collection on my PSP games shelf, so I’ve got something to compare the Portable’s packaged-in listing with.  Interestingly, quite a lot of the games are the same between the two, particularly a lot of the older titles.  Unfortunately what a lot of these have in common is that they’re terrible:  Flicky (Chuckie Egg but with more green and less gameplay), Ecco Jr. (great for kids, not so for late 20-somethings), Decap Attack (a port of Magical Hat Adventure with much worse graphics) and Altered Beast (“wise fwom your gwave” to witness some bone-crunchingly bad game design decisions) languish at the bottom of the barrel.  Alex Kidd, Kid Chameleon and Golden Axe all contain similarly stiff platforming, yet manage to retain enough charm to see the player through to the end.

Other classics have stood the test of time well; Ecco The Dolphin is as enjoyable as ever and Bonanza Bros remains unique, if short.  Shinobi III is one of the best games of both collections (though infinite shurikens are essential, natch.)  Sega have been packaging the ancient Columns with every new system since the dawn of time (I’m looking at you, Mega CD Classics Collection) and the handheld also bundles Puyo-Puyo clone Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine which will no doubt please pretty-square-movers everywhere.

The handheld gets excellent treatment on the Sonic front with both Sonic & Knuckles and the under-loved Sonic Spinball present.   While you could argue that the PSP’s Sonic 1 & Sonic 2 have intrinsic classic value (and better music), S & K was one of the most inventive of the 2D series, and Spinball brought, against all odds, pinball and platform puzzling together, with a rough-around-the-edges feel that was most unlike any of the others, and makes me particularly jealous that the PSP doesn’t have it.

That seems to be about as modern as it gets for the handheld, though – the PSP collection includes on the other hand the excellent Ristar, the Vectorman series and even Virtua Fighter (!)  The average age of the handheld games is higher, which I assume is down to increased licensing costs on newer games.

Still, all said and done, the Portable Genesis doesn’t look like a bad investment; there’s a bunch of other games I haven’t mentioned due to lack of knowledge or opinion, and $50 is half the price that I paid for the full version of Lemmings in the mid-90s* and you’re getting 20 games plus something to play it on.  What’s not to like?  Except that it’s not available in the UK of course…

* I’d just like to say that Lemmings was not worth anywhere near the price tag.  Hate me all you like, but you’re wrong.