The 2017 SEGA Genesis Flashback model has been out for about a couple months now, and we finally got our hands on one. Time for a review.
AtGames has been pushing out the SEGA Genesis Flashback unit for a couple years now, and it hasn't really changed much since its first iteration. This year's version isn't much different from last years release, either. However, it does appear that the unit sports a full stereo a/v cable to give you full stereo audio from games that support stereo. This is quite welcome.
The games list isn't all that spectacular unfortunately, as some of SEGA's more popular titles are missing. These particular titles do seem to appear on the Genesis HD version of the unit, however.
|Genesis Games||"Arcade" Games|
One thing I was hoping would be updated from last years model was the interface. It is no different from the previous year, or the years prior. The interface is also the same as the interface on the handheld unit from last year with a very similar line up. The Genesis HD Flashback, however, has a much flashier interface that seems to be reflected on the higher end flashback consoles AtGames is releasing this year.
One good thing about this issue regarding games is if there are any titles missing that you really want to play, you can use original Genesis cartridges on this system. Keep in mind that this is not original hardware, but uses a form of emulation. You may run into issues with a handful of titles out there. I have a copy of Super Street Fighter II for the Genesis, and it does not appear to function on the Flashback. However, the game is a bit "touchy" on my original Genesis model 1. Games that relied on hardware tricks from the original machine will not work here. Also, peripherals such as the Master System dock, and the 32x will not function.
|The AtGames SEGA Genesis Classic Flashback|
However, you are probably still wondering about the hardware itself. As stated earlier, this is NOT original hardware. Because of this, emulation is implemented. With emulation you come across issues from time to time. One being that some of the games built in display various issues. These issues include audio issues, visual issues, and controller issues.
As an example, Comix Zone's music is all over the place. Generally, it is just too fast. Other games demonstrated a similar audio issue where channels were missing, too loud, scratchy, etc. Visually, there wasn't to much wrong, but you could see some flickering that normally didn't happen on the original hardware.
Regarding the controllers, this is where the problems are not just annoying, but render some games unplayable. Mortal Kombat demonstrates a weird glitch with the controllers when in the options screen. When I went to play Eternal Champions, if I pressed diagonal towards and up/down plus either the "X" or "A" button would pause the game. If this happened, I would have to unplug the controller, and plug it back in to get the controller to function again. There are also some issues with cartridge games. When I was testing Samurai Shodown, the game couldn't make up its mind if the controller was a six button, or three button layout and wildly bounced between the two. When playing Comix Zone I would experience an issue with the button layout where the "C" button function would alternate between the 6 button layout and the 3 button layout.
|Asciiware Power Clutch SG|
Overall, this year's version of the SEGA Genesis Classic is pretty much the same as last year's model. The only difference is the addition of stereo audio. Many of the shortcomings were not corrected from the last iterations. Depending on where you purchase this console, it may not be worth the money. I purchased mine at Dollar General for $30 on sale from the normal $40 price tag. To me, that was worth the price of admission, even though I have an original SEGA Genesis with a handful of games, and emulation to boot.
I can not compare this to the Genesis HD Flashback unit, as I do not have it. For reviews on that unit, you can easily do a Google search to find a lot of great reviews on that unit.
The console ended up having to be returned to Dollar General. The controller ports stopped accepting input from the included controllers, and original controllers/joysticks. It appears that the controllers were not the issue, but rather the ports themselves. A shame, but it is what it is. However, I did end up snatching up the Atari Flashback 8 (basic) AND the Essential Companion book. Expect a review soon!