First there was the Namco 5-in-1 box, then others quickly came on to the market, now it seems there are hundreds of the retro classic arcade game console units for you to choose from. For the most part the format is the same. Unfortunately the Sega Mega Drive 6-in-1 doesn’t escape from that formula.
It’ clear that the main title that is hoping to draw in the crowds is Sonic The Hedgehog, then possibly Golden Axe, then if you’re really lucky Altered Beast. The remaining three titles: Kid Chameleon, Flicky, and Dr Robotniks Mean Bean Machine are really only fillers.
Set up is simple - you plug it directly into your television either via a phono connection or the handily included phono-scart adapter in the box, throw in some batteries (4x AA, not included) and turn it on. Up comes an intro screen and you can select the game of your choice from there.
The unit itself is broken down into two boxes - one that takes the batteries and has been made to look like a Mega Drive and the other an old megadrive controller, albeit coloured blue rather than black. For those not familiar with the old controller, it’s a simple affair of a dpad and three buttons and in keeping with all the other something-in-1 units feels cheap and cranky.
Once you’ve selected a game the memories will start flooding back. Some like Sonic are still good, while others, like Golden Axe, had grown slightly rosy with time. Altered beast however made us really realise how much games has come on in leaps and bounds.
What is surprising is that out of the six titles two of them are best when played with two players - Golden Axe and Dr Robotniks Mean Bean Machine, yet because of the unit you can only opt for the single player options.
As with the Namco, Atari and Space Invaders versions of these units, you are really only likely to buy this to play the main game - in this case Sonic The Hedgehog, yes you’ll kid yourself that the others will get a play, but they rarely will. For us this makes this offering fairly expensive. There’s also the problem that towards the end of the MegaDrive’s life, Sonic was bundled, so even the main attraction might lose some of its retro shine.
Our suggestion for wannabe retro geek fans would be stop messing around with half-hearted efforts and go the whole hog, head over to eBay and grab a MegaDrive console for half the price.