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Is the Sega 32X really that bad?

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I owned a 32X at launch because I needed something that could run DOOM but not be at the cost of a new PC at the time. I enjoyed it for what it was then just got an N64. The past 3 months I played every 32X cart game and came up with this list. After playing every game I can not say the system is nearly as bad as people say. The only thing bad about the system is the limited library and aesthetics when you really look at it. I really believe if developers put some time and effort in this addon it could of been really great for the time. Too bad we will never know. What do you think?

 

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It's like the Atari Jaguar, if you take the time to try every game and don't compare it to everything else from the time, sure it's okay.

 

Space Harrier and Afterburner were arcade perfect, and I liked Virtua Racing and to a much lesser extent, Star Wars.

 

Negatives: it was cumbersome (extra power plugs, etc), expensive for what you got, and up against a crowded slate of competitors. Cartridges for it were expensive and few. Not much better than a Genesis, way worse than a Saturn.

 

A streamlined Sega Mars (or was it Neptune?) system that played Genesis and 32x games in one box would have been neat, and I wish the AtGames portables could play those games. But it's twenty years later and no one cares.

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I got a 32x for Christmas in 1994 despite me not putting on the list for a reason. I was looking forward to the Sega Saturn and all the next gen systems at the time. I also was curious about the Sony Playstation, and the Ultra 64(now known as Nintendo 64). I got a Saturn around 2005 to 2007 time frame and a proud Playstation owner since 1997.

 

I thought the 32x was going to be short lived system even back in 1994. I thought Mortal Kombat 2, Virtual Fighter, Space Harrier, and virtua racing were good games. I own a total of 10 games for the 32x and I rented a couple more in 1995. The system itself had great potential, but shouldn't have been thought of by Sega A first place. Sega did screw up the Saturn Launch, but the 32x did hurt Sega's reputation as a system developer.

 

The 32x had 3 problems.

 

1.) Sega always thought of the Saturn as their next generation system and only looked at the 32x as a stop gap.

 

2.) At the time, CD games were looked upon the replacement for Cartridges due to price and hold more memory.

 

3.) Sega was competing against itself by having a 32x and a Saturn. That hurt the amount of cash spent of the Saturn in terms of developing games for the system as launch titles. This also did hurt 3d parties also. The 32x had a good amount of rumor milled games. Some of them did end up on the Saturn and some didn't.

Edited by 8th lutz
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Real problem with a product such as this is the fact it didn't receive as much support as it should have. Doesn't matter that the superior Saturn was on the horizon. Sega had an obligation to support this Frankenstein concoction that loyal customers plunked good cash down for BITD. At $160 MSRP and more than the cost of a Genesis system itself, peoples expectations were justifiably high for the thing.

I managed a Funcoland at the time of its release, so was aware of its performance (or lack of) at retail. Was interesting getting instant feedback on it since people could play in store too. Seemed fairly popular and full of promise at first, but took its fair share of flack soon afterwards. Just wish it would have been taken more seriously by the company that produced it by releasing more games that took advantage of the hardware.

 

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If you liked Sega games allot it was worth it.

Bought mine day one. Virtua Racing,Star Wars, Knuckles Chaotic, and Doom were worth the price of admition.

Its worth having nowdays if youre a retro gamer,those games still hold up pretty well.

 

There was a fun 3D space shooter called Shadow Squadron,another one called Zaxxon's Motherbase(though it played nowhere near or looked like the original classic)

and a fun mech game called Metal Head. Looking back now it was forever doomed to live in the shadow of the Saturn. Sega were the Sony of today,releasing way too many addons and not giving them proper support(Vita,PSTV,PSCamera,PSMove.) They made amazing fun games but yeah you always sorta knew going on that this was all there was to play. 3rd parties weren't all that crazy over the 32X either. Its a great collector's piece to have today,games are still fun. Just don't pay an arm and a leg for the thing. Games are limited.

Edited by PhoenixMoonPatrol
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8th lutz -- I think a lot of the "Sega competing against itself" was literally true -- there were teams in Japan and United States with different goals. There were also two competing designs for what became the Saturn.

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Most things are neither as bad nor as good as they're reputed to be. (All this is subjective - I do love and hate a few things as much as some people, but most things seem to just have their pros and cons.)

 

I think it's unrealistic to expect a mid-stream accessory to basically be an entirely new platform, or fully replace the one it's adding to. That's true not just of the 32X. I think you buy things like this to give you a taste of what's to come. No, it'll probably never be as good as later, more refined designs and it'll never get a huge amount of developer support either. But you can have fun with what is available for it, and you'll have a new experience before other people.

 

That's true of the 32X, Sega CD and whatever else you can think of that's similar.

 

Essentially I think the problem is expectations more than anything.

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I will always wish that the 32X had come out earlier / had more time to develop. I really like the graphics actually (compared to the Genesis / Jaguar / Snes), and enjoy Shadow Squadron and Virtua Racing Deluxe an awful lot. If developers could've / would've spent more time with it I think its library would've been fantastic. I also kind of loved the look of the console itself (to each his or her own obviously).

 

But I absolutely HATED the extra full size power plug, and to this day think that's ridiculous. Particularly if you're hooking up a Genesis and SegaCD; you end up with THREE of these monstrosities, just ridiculous.

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The 32X isn't bad. Is it great? Probably not.

 

I spent a lot of time with the 32X over the last few months as well. I've owned one since they were being liquidated for about $30 brand new back in the day--'95 or '96 or so, something like that. I really enjoyed it back then, but it's always good to revisit these things with a new pair of glasses.

 

My current/modern take on it is that many games on the system lack polish and/or consistency, and this is one of the add-on's biggest problems. This includes Genesis conversions re-using many of the same assets and only improving the 32X version in certain, often times minor areas (Mortal Kombat 2, Primal Rage), to games featuring sluggish or choppy framerates when they shouldn't (BC Racers, Pitfall), to exclusives that, while neat, should be a lot more enjoyable than they actually are (Knuckles Chaotix). Some titles do hold up quite nicely, such as Virtua Racing and Shadow Squadron, and are genuinely fun to play today. That said, the 32X is a tough recommendation in this day and age, particularly with the rising prices of carts. A lot of its titles are redundant and better experienced elsewhere (if you even want to experience them to begin with). People with flash carts will get the biggest bang for their buck, but to everyone else, it's going to be a tough pill to swallow.

 

Side Note: The games I enjoyed the most recently when revisiting it were Virtua Racing, Tempo, Shadow Squadron, Kolibri, and DOOM. The games I enjoyed the least were the two baseball games, Brutal, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, WWF Raw, and Primal Rage. I enjoyed Cosmic Carnage and Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 way more than I probably should have. The rest of the library sits somewhere in-between, mostly in mediocre territory (sans Blackthorne, people rave about it but it's one of the few I didn't spend considerable time with).

 

Second Side Note: I think Sega should have focused on the flat/shaded polygon games more often. These games seem to have aged the best and are the most fun to go back to and offer something truly different from what was the norm on the Genesis.

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Just to add on to what everyone has already said, the 32X wasn't BAD, it just wasn't all that interesting. Lots of hype in the beginning, then Sega completely dropped it. I know they meant it as a stopgap until the Saturn was ready, but they really should have supported it longer than they did. I think the big problem was that it really didn't expand the Genesis significantly. It was a nice little bump, but nothing mind blowing. Nintendo was doing similar things on the SNES with special chips on regular carts and no need for a special add-on (Sega tried that with ONE cart and gave up). I think the weird grounding clips also hurt it since they were fiddly and no one seemed to understand what they were for. I remember hearing rumors that they were frying systems at the time (not true, but the rumors were out there).

 

The reason Zaxxon Motherbase 2000 doesn't play like a Zaxxon game was that it was never supposed to be one. It was originally just called Motherbase 2000 and someone decided that it looked enough like Zaxxon to tack on the name for marketing purposes.

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The reason Zaxxon Motherbase 2000 doesn't play like a Zaxxon game was that it was never supposed to be one. It was originally just called Motherbase 2000 and someone decided that it looked enough like Zaxxon to tack on the name for marketing purposes.

Poor Zaxxon gets no respect.

 

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I found it interesting that the 32X does accept the Mega Everdrive cart. That is where I have been able to experience a lot of odd titles.

 

Since the Mega Everdrive will also support SMS games, I also found out that the 32X kills the backward compatibility of the Genesis.

So, the 32X must be unplugged to play SMS games or use save states on the Genesis games. This is where the "add-on" and "lots of wires" gets annoying.

 

However, it's a pretty cool piece of hardware. Highly recommend.

http://www.stoneagegamer.com/flash-carts/everdrive-md-genesis-mega-drive/cartridges/

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I dont think its all that bad. I have one and enjoy it. The problem is that its not all that good.... what I mean is I don't think it lived up to expectations. People were expecting a new level of gaming, and the improvement just wasn't that great. Also the games in the library feel rushed, while most genesis games were well refined. I think it had potential that was never realized. I enjoy colecting for it but honestly its just kinda Meh. So no its not all that bad, but also not that good.

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It was an amazing stop-gap for about 6 months, for me. I didn't have a PC, so being able to play 32X versions of Star Wars Arcade, Doom, and Virtua Racing Deluxe was an arcade-like experience. VR Deluxe in particular, I loved that - 2 new courses, 2 new cars, and it plays the best of all the Virtua Racing ports (even plays better than that PS2 one).

 

Sadly ... as we are all aware, no subsequent 32X games were on the same level as those 3. Some were refinements over Genesis games and were worth playing if you liked them. For example, Mortal Kombat was clearly better looking and sounding. Fred Couples Golf was a bit underwhelming at first, but remember, it did have 3D-construction elevation and a nice color palette, and its a relaxing game to play. Knuckles Chaotix is also very colorful and somewhat fun, not in a Sonic way though. I remember I loved playing through its 3D-tunnel flat-shaded bonus rounds. By the time Virtua Fighter was published, the Saturn version was already out - impressive for 32X, but nothing great anymore.

 

I own the 32X, but its not hooked up, and recently I've been playing 32X games on my Retro-Pie (Raspberry PIE 2). So far, the only one which dogs in performance is Virtua Fighter. Its fun playing stuff like Kolibri which I never owned. Very colorful game. Its a real treat experiencing these retro games on an HDMI connection! Anyway, this is how I'd recommend playing 32X - via emulation.

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I just picked up a 32X and games bundle as a XMas present to myself, so here's my 2 cents.

My fairly uneducated, just a Sega Fan's first experience of the 32X after 2+ decades of pondering this system add-on.

 

Aesthetically, it's not as bad as everyone says... especially in my case where, being mainly a Sega collector, I have one dedicated TV for my Sega Genesis/CD/(Now) 32X combo unit so it sits there nicely with it's wires all neat behind the TV. Having 3 AC adapters plugged in is a bit of a space hog and I can't help but wonder how much power a 2-3 hour gaming session eats... but anyway, on to how well I think it performs.

 

I got 5 games with it: Doom, Fred Couples 36 Great Holes, Metal Head, Star Wars Arcade & Virtua Fighter.

 

Doom: A very good port. I had a PC back in the day so I scoffed at any home port at the time, but looking back it this, it's a very playable, smooth,... GOOD version of Doom.... until you find out out the game just wasn't finished? You hit level 15 and the game just ends... with a DOS PROMPT!!! I literally laughed out loud when that happened. Okay... sure... they didn't have enough room for all the levels, but at least re-order them so the last level you play has some kind of oomph to it... at least move E1M8 to the end... something... and then actually have an ending, not just was could be the equivalent of a 'kill' screen.

 

Star Wars Arcade: A pretty fun game. However, THIS late in the game, Sega should have known better than to try something like this. Sure it sold, cause it was Star Wars! But I mean. even in the late 80's/early 90's Sega had trouble with it's arcade ports, because while other companies often altered them to be more suited to a console experience, Sega strove for arcade emulation and the quarter sucking, 2 minutes of excitement, arcade style play just doesn't work as well at home. Especially not if you just plunked down $200+ for the 32X and this as your first game. Only to play it for 20-30 minutes and immediately feel the need to take a break from the repetitive, short lived game play experience. Sure it was fun after you plunked a handful of change into it at the mall and maybe rode in a space ship too, but after throwing down triple digits in bills.... it just doesn't feel as worth it. Has anyone ever plunked more than $200 into a Star Wars Arcade machine, therefore making this purchase an actual money saver? Plus, at least at the arcade you'd have gotten $200 worth of Space Ship rides if it was an environmental cabinet!

But besides ALL that, the game is just not 'finished'. MAYBE they intended for the difficulty to be ludicrous, wouldn't be the first game to do such a thing, but I'm sure the difficulty would have been polished given more time, especially since have the difficulty comes from a bug that I'm SURE the developers didn't intend, and that is that TIE fighters can just fly though anything, ANYthing. I'm speeding down the trench, hot on a TIE fighter's tail, about to take him out, and what does he do? flys INTO the wall, continues flying straight (still in the wall mind you), and starts shooting back at me!!! Fine, if I can't shoot him I'll just shoot the shots he fires... only If I aim my gun sights toward his shots that's means I'm at pointng my ship at the wall. So it's crash into the wall, or take a hit from the TIE cannon. THIS is where the games difficulty stems from. And it HAS to be a bug.

 

In fact BOTH these games seemed not finished. Was it a case of rushing to get them out the door and sold, or a case of knowing this system wasn't going ANYWHERE so why waste time finishing them? Maybe a little of both.

 

Metal Head: This is pretty fun. I like the controls, I like the gameplay, I like the graphics. Draw distance is a little short (but gotta remember this is before Mario 64 even), and some changes probably could have remedied that, but that's my only gripe, and it's a small one.

 

Fred Couples Golf: Well... it's golf. But I like golf games, and this is a pretty good one. Beautiful sound & graphics, though the voices are little muffled. Nice controls and game play. Play an EA PGA Tour, then play this. You DO feel the 32 bit-ness. But I digress, it IS just golf.

 

Virtua Fighter: This is nice. To have had this back in the day I would have been VERY happy. I remember playing this at an arcade a few times and at a Saturn Kiosk in K-Mart a few times. I loved the game. I sucked at it... still do... but loved it. Sure it's no arcade perfect port, but considering we were only JUST finally getting (on this system I might add) arcade perfect ports of 10 year old games, how COULD you expect an arcade perfect port of a current game??? And with that in mind...

 

My opinion on the system as whole based, albeit based on my limited experience. When After Burner and Space Harrier were current, the Master System ports lacked SEVERELY and even the Sega Genesis had trouble doing them justice. Arcade perfect ports weren't available until the 32X, which may seem too little too late, but in the same tone, the 32X was doing DARN near arcade perfect ports of semi current polygonal titles like Virtua Fighter and Star Wars. Imagine if the Master system could have played After Burner and Space Harrier as faithful as the 32X plays Virtua Fighter and Star Wars! (As long as we ignore that bug which I'm sure could have been remedied given time).

The 32X IS a good system. Is just doesn't have many good games. The whole competing with themselves thing, in a nutshell, yes, caused both the 32X AND Saturn downfall I believe) Both systems were powerful, but both systems needed polish and dedication, I believe either system could have been VERY successful if they had just decided on one or the other. You can see the potential in the 32X, it's just never realized. Imagine if all we had for the Genesis were the handful of titles released in 1989? We wouldn't think too much of it either except for 'what could have been'.

 

I believe the PS1 would still have reigned king of 32-64 bit era, but I believe Sega and Nintendo would have stayed tight competitors vying for 2nd place. The 32X (or Neptune even) would have had the cartridge limitations lie the 64 did, and not been as powerful, but like the Genesis before the SNES just beating them to market by a year or more might have been all the rush they needed. Or had they gone the Saturn route, they'd have stayed competitive with CD style games and content, but still trailed tech-wise, but again, with focus and a head start on the market, they could have still done very well.

 

PS. I haven't got a Saturn, so my opinions on that a purely common knowledge of the system.

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Virtua Fighter: This is nice. To have had this back in the day I would have been VERY happy.

Yeah, and this is one game that really shows a clear upgrade from the Genesis. I think if Sega had put out VF simultaneously on the Genesis and 32X, it would have made a much better case for the 32X. (They did put out VF2 for the Genesis, but not until 1997, and while it was a perfectly ok 2D fighting game, VF was a 3D game and that's what made the 32X version impressive.)

 

Or had they gone the Saturn route, they'd have stayed competitive with CD style games and content, but still trailed tech-wise, but again, with focus and a head start on the market, they could have still done very well.

 

PS. I haven't got a Saturn, so my opinions on that a purely common knowledge of the system.

The Saturn didn't really trail the PS1 in tech, it just had a different kind of tech. It did certain things well while the PS1 did other things well. It depended on what you were looking for at the time. Obviously most people liked the things the PS1 did well at that time, and developers liked it because it was easier to program for. That said, I remember reading an interview with Treasure at one point where they said something like Guardian Heroes would have been really difficult to release on the PS1.

 

The Saturn was much more powerful than the 32X... I don't think the 32X could have competed with the PS1.

 

I think Sega was trying to give people kind of a bridge between generations with the 32X. But hype and marketing are designed to get people to buy as many units as possible, which always ends up feeling like overpromising and underdelivering. Certain things you buy, you really should buy with the expectation that you're going to get a couple years of enjoyment out of them. Obviously Sega could not put that in a magazine ad or press release, but I'm sure that that was always the plan. I mean, $159 is really not all that expensive for what it was. Some people seemed like they were expecting an entirely new game system with a 5 year lifespan for that price.

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I would love a redone Star Wars game with those flat shaded Model 1 Virtua Racing type polygon graphics. The look of that game is wonderful, the sound is OK, but the gameplay is awful.

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I own(ed) a 32X. The clips were for RF shielding.

Right, but at the time no one seemed to understand what they were for (or how to put them in). That and there was that rumor that they were shorting out Genesis consoles which probably didn't help.

 

Actually the whole process for hooking up the 32X was too complicated. People (especially at the time) just wanted something they could plug in and play. Having to fiddle with clips and video cables annoyed a great many people (and god help you if you threw a Sega CD into the mix).

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Doom: A very good port. I had a PC back in the day so I scoffed at any home port at the time, but looking back it this, it's a very playable, smooth,... GOOD version of Doom.... until you find out out the game just wasn't finished? You hit level 15 and the game just ends... with a DOS PROMPT!!! I literally laughed out loud when that happened. Okay... sure... they didn't have enough room for all the levels, but at least re-order them so the last level you play has some kind of oomph to it... at least move E1M8 to the end... something... and then actually have an ending, not just was could be the equivalent of a 'kill' screen.

 

You only get the DOS Prompt ending if you cheat. If you clear the game without cheating you get the real 'ending' which is basically the monster cast list and a paragraph of text telling you how good you are.

 

Star Wars Arcade: A pretty fun game. However, THIS late in the game, Sega should have known better than to try something like this. Sure it sold, cause it was Star Wars! But I mean. even in the late 80's/early 90's Sega had trouble with it's arcade ports, because while other companies often altered them to be more suited to a console experience, Sega strove for arcade emulation and the quarter sucking, 2 minutes of excitement, arcade style play just doesn't work as well at home. Especially not if you just plunked down $200+ for the 32X and this as your first game. Only to play it for 20-30 minutes and immediately feel the need to take a break from the repetitive, short lived game play experience. Sure it was fun after you plunked a handful of change into it at the mall and maybe rode in a space ship too, but after throwing down triple digits in bills.... it just doesn't feel as worth it. Has anyone ever plunked more than $200 into a Star Wars Arcade machine, therefore making this purchase an actual money saver? Plus, at least at the arcade you'd have gotten $200 worth of Space Ship rides if it was an environmental cabinet!

But besides ALL that, the game is just not 'finished'. MAYBE they intended for the difficulty to be ludicrous, wouldn't be the first game to do such a thing, but I'm sure the difficulty would have been polished given more time, especially since have the difficulty comes from a bug that I'm SURE the developers didn't intend, and that is that TIE fighters can just fly though anything, ANYthing. I'm speeding down the trench, hot on a TIE fighter's tail, about to take him out, and what does he do? flys INTO the wall, continues flying straight (still in the wall mind you), and starts shooting back at me!!! Fine, if I can't shoot him I'll just shoot the shots he fires... only If I aim my gun sights toward his shots that's means I'm at pointng my ship at the wall. So it's crash into the wall, or take a hit from the TIE cannon. THIS is where the games difficulty stems from. And it HAS to be a bug.

 

To be fair, the arcade version was ungodly rare. I saw it once in an airport in England where it was a two player co-op type game and yes, it was brutally hard. I don't even know if it was imported into the US, so the 32X version is probably the only way anyone in the US got to play it.
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The clips are described in the manual as being needed for RF shielding, but I'm convinced now they were more for keeping the 32X from wiggling/wobbling in the cart slot. :lol:

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Well, for those that still relied on RF (myself included), I accidentally lost one clip out of two, and lived through a slightly weaker signal while ordering free replacements through the 1-800-USA-SEGA number.

 

But it's a moot point for the Composite And Up crowd. :P

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