Sega Genesis Retrogen: Frist Impressions of a clone Genny Portable.

Feb 2007
Kentucky, US

Disclaimer!! Nothing has hit the market in the way of a clone system that is able to replace the original hardware of a gaming system. Approaching a system like the Retrogen you must understand things from that perspective. Accept the fact that nothing to date can replace the Nomad, even with what flaws it has when put up against modern portables.

I picked this up cheap not paying the full price. Shipping, handing, and system price came to $20.00.

My first impression as I took the system from the box was a sign of relief. The directional button was not like the picture on the box. Instead of a disc shaped monstrosity which was a sacrilege. I got a directional button that is somewhat similar to the Sega Genny pad. Thank You Innex! The system feels like any other China made system that I am familiar with, thin plastic cheapness, but it does have a feel that seems solid. Hard to describe. It is a bit chunky, but what do you expect when you have something that takes the original home console carts?

The Fire, or action, buttons are at an awkward angle. Maybe it is because I am use to the Nomad? It took me a little getting used to. The direction button, although it seems like a normal directional button, it does not pivot! Like it sits on top of a spring enabling you to push it down. But the controls here are like first time impressions and shock. Maybe traumatized is a better word. I was able to adjust to my new handheld.

The sound is hard to get used to because the emulation is just not right. If you cherish the Genny music in the games, this will be a killer for you. Some of the sound channels are not right and it is as if the speaker can not handle it. Headphones help only a little by taking out the distortion. :'(

The screen looks sweet, nice rich, sharp colors. The parallax scrolling looks awesome. Bright backlit 2.8 inch screen with no blurring or ghosting, that I have seen yet. Wish it had some kind of brightness and contrast control.

Every game that I have thrown at it has had no problem playing except Phantasy Star IV, the saved game screen was jumbled. And Super Street Fighter 2 gave me a red screen.

Games that gave me no problem,
Buster Hidden Treasure
Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition
Genesis 6-pak
Bio Hazard Battle
Judge Dread
Mega Turrican
Lightening Force: Quest for Darkstar
Comic Zone
Chuck Rock 2
Burning Force
Space Harrier II

I got this out of my mailbox today, so I've only had a few hours. I have only tried a small sample of my games. Compatibility seems good. I will have to dig them all out this weekend and give this thing a good spin. So far I have enjoyed the Retrogen, except for my weeping during some of the games because of the audio problem. This thing has got only a few things going for it, nice screen, portability (until you consider cart size), and the rechargeable battery that gives you 4 to 6 hours of play time. It does have around 10 built in games that are not worth the effort of mentioning. I purchased this for the Genny games and not for something like they loaded the system with. They are that bad.

This portable is not for the squeamish, diehard, perfectionest Sega junkies. A casual gamer that loves retro and collectors of oddball portables will be the only ones that will enjoy this system. A nice effort, close, but no cigar. I'll keep my Nomad, but I will take this out and play around with it occasionally.

edit: I failed to mention that it has a switch to enable PAL or NTSC compatibility. SO it can play Mega Drive or Sega Genesis carts.
Jan 2005
Waco, TX
Hmm impressive. As for the control setup, it's not the fact you are used to the Nomad controls. It's the fact it's obvious as daylight that someone was drunk when they placed the buttons horizontally. o_O As for the price you paid for, I say WOW!
Feb 2007
Kentucky, US
Being somewhat familiar with clone systems, I am very impressed with the compatibility of the Retrogen. There is a noticeable slight slowdown at times when the screen is real busy in some games, then again this is not always the case in all games that you would think that there should be slow down. Nothing that hinders the experience. None that I have found so far except for Mega Bomberman. I don't like it but it is playable. Graphically I haven't really noticed any glitches that have been bad, only very slight in very few games. I have not played any game through yet, but everything in my list plays great in my testing, or normal. It is a Sega Genny Festival Weekend!! I know I have another box of games somewhere............

The Retrogen List

Ad. Batman & Robin
Ad. of Rocky & Bullwinkle
Aero The Acro-Bat
Alien 3
Alien Storm
Alisia Dragoon
Atomic Runner
Batman Forever
Batman Returns
Battle Squadron
Bio Hazard Battle
Burning Force
Buster's Hidden Treasure
Chiki Chiki boys
Chuck Rock
Chuck Rock 2
Comix Zone
Cool Spot
Desert Demolition
Dinosaurs For Hire
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
Dynamite Headdy
Earthworm Jim
El Viento
Fire Shark
Galaxy Force II
Genesis 6-Pak
Golden Axe II
Great Circus Mystery
Grind Stormer
Gunstar Heroes
Judge Dredd
Jurassic Park
Kid Chameleon
King of the Monsters
King of the Monsters 2
Krusty's Super Funhouse
Lightening Force
Lotus II
Marvel Land
Mazin Saga: Mutant Fighter
Mega Bomberman
Mega Turrican
Mickey Mania
Mick & Mack: Global Gladiators
Mystical Fighter
Race Drivin'
Raiden Trad
Ranger X
Revenge of Shinobi
Roar of the Beast
Rocket Knight Ad.
Rolling Thunder 2
Samurai Shodown
Shadow Dancer
Shinobi III
Sonic 2
Sonic 3
Sonic & Knuckles (only Sonic 2 will work piggyback)
Sonic 3D Blast
Space Harrier II
Star Trek: TNG
Steel Empire
Street Fighter II Special CE
Super Monaco GP
Super Thunder Blade
Task Force Harrier EX
The Tick
Thunder Force II
Thunder Force III
Toy Story
Trouble Shooter
Twin Cobra
Pebble Beach Golf
Phantasy Star III
Pink Goes to HollyWood
Valis III
Vectorman 2
Williams Arcade Hits
Wings of Wor
World of Illusion
X-Men 2
Zero Wing-Mega Drive

Those that have real issues and make them unplayable

Beyond Oasis- will not boot- black screen
Gauntlet IV- it is like molasses unplayable
Lotus Turbo Challenge- control issues
Ms. Pacman- Control issues
NBA Jam- vertical Blue bars
Out of this World- can't get past the beginning
Phantasy Star IV- very playable, only saving is a big problem
Phantom 2040- control issues
Super SF II-Red Screen
Feb 2007
Kentucky, US

A good set of headphones is my solution to the audio problem. I'm actually using the headphones pictured here. Lightening Force is sounding close to normal with them. That, in itself, is all that matters to me. Using these I've found that there are just certain games that have a "really off" sound problem. And I think it is how the game itself addresses the Genny hardware that determines this "off" issue in the clone hardware. Some of the music sounds good, or normal. The others, like Lightening Force, seems that the little built-in speaker cannot handle the audio range of the Genesis. Or it can't handle the bass, whatever. There is an issue there with the actual hardware that is different from the SGOAC emulation issue. The sound issue is really the big achilles heel of this sweet little system. If it wasn't for that, it would be a very awesome portable.

I am impressed with this little portable clone. My experience has turned out different than what I thought it would be. I am really enjoying this Retrogen thing. To any other clone addicts out there, I recommend this little gaming machine.
Feb 2007
Kentucky, US
MegaDrive20XX said:
I want one now :( Where can I buy one for that much?
Sorry. :( I got mine off of eBay. $5.00 was the starting bid with $15.00 shipping and handling. No one else did any bidding. The cheapest right now on eBay is $34.00 with shipping and handling. My family just shake their heads because I seem to be able to pick stuff off of eBay like this all the time. :) I think if these sellers would just open the box and take a picture of the new system with the new directional button instead of using the old stock photo, I would not have had the chance to pick this up so cheap.

I have around 3 more games in the mail from eBay. I'll be waiting at the mailbox.

From what I am understanding by reading around on the net, some of the compatibility problem is with the larger carts and it is everyones thinking that it is a voltage problem. The voltage is too low to boot the larger carts like Super Street Fighter. No one has proved this yet with a mod. Although I have noticed that when the battery gets very low the games begin to exhibit control problems and become unplayable.

I've been having a Sega Festival ever since I got this thing. Between the Retrogen and the FC16 Mobile, its the 90s console wars all over again in my house. :lol
Feb 2007
Kentucky, US
Just up dated my compatible game list with,
Lotus II
Super Monaco GP
Super Thunder Blade

I have Thunder Force III on its way to my mail box. A highly anticipated game. :)
Feb 2007
Kentucky, US
Just felt like there needed to be an update. :)
Adding to the list in being compatible,
Mickey Mania
Mick & Mack: Global Gladiators
Thunder Force III

Also I have spent some time this weekend playing through and finishing Lightening Force: Quest For the Dark Star on the RetroGen. Played great except for the distortion in the audio area. Was a bit more brutal than I remember it. Been a while since I played it through. Ready for another go at it. ::D