The Sega Genesis Mini 2 is a wild experiment that proves we need more Minis

Review: Sega Genesis Mini 2 1

If you ever wanted to play The Ooze in 2022, this is your chance

I feel like the whole “mini console” craze was custom made just for me. As someone who was alive when these systems were ushering in a new era for video games and a collector: it’s just a perfect match.

Nintendo was on a roll there with the NES and SNES “Classics,” but after the PlayStation effort, things kind of quieted down. Thankfully, Sega has just given us their second Genesis/Mega Drive mini, and if this iteration is any indication, I wouldn’t mind of they kept going.

Review: Sega Genesis Mini 2 12

The console

Here’s everything you get with the box:

  • The console itself (with working power/reset buttons) – Width 4.7 inches (120.8 mm) x Height 1.3 inches (32.3 mm) x Length 4.6 inches (116.5 mm) – Video output: 720p, 480p
  • An HDMI cable
  • A power cable (micro-USB)
  • A power adapter
  • One controller – Width 5.5 inches (140 mm) x Height 2.8 inches (70 mm) x Length 1.1 inches (29 mm) – Length 6.6 ft

Yes, it just comes with one controller, down from two in the original box. It’s a shame, though the controller does feel sturdy, and previous Genesis Mini owners will easily be able to acclimate when they hook either of them up.

Thankfully, the power adapter ensures that you can fully play the Genesis Mini 2 out of the box. I’ve seen a variety of opinions on whether or not these sorts of systems “need” to include the power adapter, and I’ll say the same thing that I say to Apple products that don’t have one: just include it!

Aesthetically, I dig that it differentiates itself from the original Genesis Mini, and can be told apart at a glance. The console itself, like many minis, is lightweight and convenient to store/lug around. I try and keep all of my minis in larger freezer bags, with all their cords and controllers stored together.

Review: Sega Genesis Mini 2 1234

The OS

The Sega Genesis Mini 2 has a simplistic set of menus, but they are functional, especially the sorting options. You can sort games by title, release date, recently played, listing CDs first, or by the number of players (note: there are 20 multiplayer games on offer in the Mini 2, with support for up to two people).

The options menu is slim, but there are options nonetheless:

  • A toggle for full screen support or the proper aspect ratio (4:3)
  • Nine wallpapers
  • Classic or new sound effects
  • The ability to toggle the display to look like a bookshelf of game cases, or the traditional game box images
  • Support for up to eight languages
  • Four save slots per game

That’s pretty much all there is to it. When playing a game you can press the “mode” button on the top right of the controller, which will bring up the save/load and “return to title” menu. That button is extremely convenient and not in the way at all, and the menus are responsive.

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The games

As a refresher, here’s the full list of games in the Sega Genesis Mini 2:

Title

Type

After Burner II

Cartridge

Alien Soldier

Cartridge

Atomic Runner

Cartridge

Bonanza Bros.

Cartridge

ClayFighter

Cartridge

Crusader of Centy

Cartridge

Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf

Cartridge

Earthworm Jim 2

Cartridge

Elemental Master

Cartridge

Fatal Fury 2

Cartridge

Gain Ground

Cartridge

Golden Axe II

Cartridge

Granada

Cartridge

Hellfire

Cartridge

Herzog Zwei

Cartridge

Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar

Cartridge

Midnight Resistance

Cartridge

OutRun

Cartridge

OutRunners

Cartridge

Phantasy Star II

Cartridge

Populous

Cartridge

RAINBOW ISLANDS -EXTRA-

Cartridge

Ranger-X

Cartridge

Ristar

Cartridge

ROLLING THUNDER 2

Cartridge

Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi

Cartridge

Shining Force II

Cartridge

Shining in the Darkness

Cartridge

Sonic 3D Blast

Cartridge

SPLATTERHOUSE 2

Cartridge

Streets of Rage 3

Cartridge

Super Hang-On

Cartridge

SUPER STREET FIGHTER II THE NEW CHALLENGERS

Cartridge

The Ooze

Cartridge

The Revenge of Shinobi

Cartridge

ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron

Cartridge

Truxton

Cartridge

VectorMan 2

Cartridge

Viewpoint

Cartridge

Virtua Racing

Cartridge

Warsong

Cartridge

Ecco the Dolphin (CD Ver.)

SEGA CD

Ecco: The Tides of Time (CD Ver.)

SEGA CD

Final Fight CD

SEGA CD

Mansion of Hidden Souls

SEGA CD

NIGHT STRIKER

SEGA CD

Night Trap

SEGA CD

Robo Aleste

SEGA CD

Sewer Shark

SEGA CD

Shining Force CD

SEGA CD

SILPHEED

SEGA CD

Sonic The Hedgehog CD

SEGA CD

THE NINJAWARRIORS

SEGA CD

Sega Genesis Mini 2 list of bonus games:

Title

Type

Devi & Pii

Previously unreleased

Fantasy Zone

New Port

Space Harrier II (+Space Harrier)

New Ports

Spatter

New Port

Star Mobile

Previously unreleased

Super Locomotive

New Port

VS Puyo Puyo Sun

New Port

Some of the additions, frankly, are insane. Not once in my wildest dreams did I imagine Clayfighter would be relevant again nearly 30 years later. There’s just a bizarre smattering of games here, with absolute classics you may have seen in various compilations like Phantasy Star II, After Burner IIThe Revenge of Shinobi, and OutRun: juxtaposed to things like The Ooze (in which you control a growing goop pile) and Bonanza Bros (a game where you control criminals with split-screen co-op support). The Genesis Mini 2 is also shmup heavy, adding in games like Hellfire and Granada on top of the recognizable names.

Although other Mini consoles generally have a “safer” selection of games, surfing through the Genesis Mini 2 was one of my favorite experiences of them all. There’s just some stuff here that even retro enthusiasts haven’t heard of, or played. Flipping through them and selecting wild cards felt like breathing rarified air. There’s so much history in this little thing, and even though all of it isn’t going to be worth playing from many points of view: I’m glad it’s preserved nonetheless.

Interestingly, a few marquee games have been tweaked, which is something I want to see more in Mini releases. Phantasy Star II has the option to speed up movement, and contains an easy mode exclusive to the Mini 2. OutRun has new music, and Rainbow Islands Extra has additional content via the titular “extra mode,” which wasn’t previously released outside of Japan.

Really, the easiest way to see if the Genesis Mini 2 is for you is to look at the game list and see if even 20 of them excite you in any way. To be frank, I’m surprised someone actively greenlit some of these games in the first place. But it’s that bold choice that will ensure that I’ll be keeping my Genesis Mini 2 hooked up throughout the holiday season.

If you want one, you can find them on Amazon for import officially from Sega: with about a $20 shipping fee added on if you’re getting it in the US.

Chris Carter
Reviews Director, Co-EIC - Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff!