Nintendo may have temporarily hit the brakes on its own 'Classic Edition' series, but Sega has gamely soldiered on, following up its Mega Drive / Genesis Mini with the Astro City Mini, Astro City Mini V, Game Gear Micro and, this year, the Mega Drive / Genesis Mini 2. There's clearly plenty of money to be made recycling classic games via physical hardware, and this sequel system offers something fairly unique: Mega / Sega CD titles, some of which are being re-released for the first time ever.
Once again, Sega has partnered with emulation expert M2 on this product; that means you're getting top-class emulation and a host of subtle (but welcome) tweaks – as well as games which have previously never been released.
But is it worth your money if you already have the original Mega Drive / Genesis Mini, which – let's face it – has most of the Mega Drive / Genesis' best games already? And that's before we even mention the fact that it's more expensive than last year's model, despite having only one controller..
Let's find out...
Mega Drive Mini 2 Review - The Hardware
As the name suggests, the Mega Drive / Genesis Mini 2 is based on the revised version of Sega's original 16-bit console, released in 1993. Smaller and cheaper – but lacking the 3.5mm headphone socket – this design is hardly what you'd call ugly, but it's fair to say that the Mk1 edition holds stronger memories for those old enough to have lived through this particular era in gaming. Still, it wouldn't have made much sense for Sega to simply release another Mk1 Mega Drive / Genesis Mini, so here we are.
The unit isn't all that different in terms of footprint when compared to the first Mega Drive / Genesis Mini. It has the same cartridge slot design (which actually opens, so you can slot in the optional dummy carts, just like before) and boasts two USB-A ports on the front; a Micro USB socket (for power) and a full-size HDMI port are found on the back. It's a shame Sega didn't opt for the more modern USB-C connection for power, which is now competitively widespread, but that's a minor grumble.
The power switch and reset button are located on the top, and eagle-eyed fans will instantly spot that something's not quite right here; Sega has decided to use the Japanese design across all three regional variants of the Mega Drive / Genesis Mini 2, so there's a power switch (not a button) and no grille in between – and that means no red power LED to indicate when the system is powered up, which can cause some confusion.
While Sega included two controllers with the first Mega Drive / Genesis Mini, there's only one in the box this time around. That's the bad news – the good news is that the pad is based on the six-button controller that was released around the same time as Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition, and it's larger than the six-button controllers that shipped with the Japanese version of the original Mega Drive / Genesis Mini (the North American and European versions came with the larger, 3-button pad).