What do today’s game consoles have in common with those from bygone days? It’s not the electronics — today’s consoles are more powerful — and it’s not price either. But if someone said that it’s the games that made the consoles worth having, then that someone would be totally right. A game console that doesn’t have great games that you can play on it isn’t worth having no matter how many “bells and whistles” light up its innards. That’s why Sega Mega Drive games like Sonic and Mortal Kombat among others still resonate with gamers who weren’t even born when the games first came out. And that’s why spending a retail of $70.98 (based on converting pounds to dollars) for the SEGA Mega Drive Classic Game Console Mortal Kombat Edition is money better spent than going old school and dropping quarters into an arcade machine.
First here’s what the Mortal Kombat Edition isn’t — an attempt to recreate the game console with the 2000’s in mind. True the console is much smaller than the original (about 1/2 the size), but there’s still the top loading cartridge slot waiting to be fed a game labeled “for Genesis” or “for Mega Drive.” So anyone who’s got a copy of the Michael Jackson “MoonWalker” cartridge lying around, now’s the time to feed the jukebox and start dancing. And it should be added that the this console can play both PAL and NTSC games, so that particular specific doesn’t have to be concerned with.
But getting back to what this console has — don’t expect there to be a “modern” video and audio output for HD resolution and surround sound — the cable is a plain old composite video with a single audio RCA for monophonic sound (FYI – composite video is that yellow plug that gives you the resolution of old tube analog TVs). There’s even a fat wall plug to provide it with power. So don’t expect a widescreen picture because it’s 4:3 all the way.
But mimicking the past doesn’t mean there can’t be some improvements. One of them is that there’s a total of 40 official, licensed Sega games crammed into a chip somewhere in the console’s innards. This includes the first Sonic of course but also 3 Mortal Kombat games — each being slightly more devious and violent than the one that came before. Add these into the 36 others (like Altered Beast and Ecco and Golden Axe and on and on and on and you get plenty of titles to keep you company. And we’re talking about good titles too, the ones that kept gamers coming back and never ended up in the $4.95 rack. As if that wasn’t enough, the console throws in another 40 games — these are “home-brew” which means that they were created by Sega game lovers and not licensed companies. That doesn’t mean the games are no good — it’ll be a matter of taste but at least with names like Whack-A-Wolf and Sudoku Quiz and Naval Power, it looks promising.
Probably the single best “new” thing about the Mortal Kombat Edition (and not found on the original Sega) are the control pads. You get two of them and they’re shaped exactly as they should be with the various buttons positioned as muscle memory expects from those who once had their hands glued onto them. But instead of long cords that always got in the way, these Mega Drive pads are wireless. So yes you can twist and turn without concern, as there’s nothing to get between you and the game except knowing which button to punch at which time. Also it means there’s nothing to blame for losing a life or getting an abysmally low score. And since there’s two joystick ports open, licensed controllers can be attached and used, you betcha!
The SEGA Mega Drive Classic Game Console Mortal Kombat Edition accurately recreates the look and sounds that made playing games on 16-bit the fun that it was. Anyone who thinks that grabbing hold of someone in Mortal Kombat and trying to shake him like.a wet dog before putting him down is easy ain’t remembering correctly. Or hasn’t had the opportunity to see why 16-bit once ruled and still commands attention. So find out.