Even without Sonic 3, the Mega Drive Mini’s final line-up is mighty impressive

SEGA revealed the final batch of Mega Drive Mini titles earlier this week. In a surprise twist, instead of unveiling ten games as expected, twelve made the cut. This brings the grand total up to 42.

The final 12 are a mixture of expected entries and genuine surprises. Tetris, in particular, has come out of the blue. It’s the rarest Mega Drive game available, cancelled days before release due to licensing issues. It has even been said that fewer than ten copies made it into the wild.

It’s worth noting that it isn’t a straight conversion, though. Nintendo Life reports revisions are being made by M2. We imagine this is to bring it in line with recent renditions of Tetris.

EA’s bike brawler Road Rash II is another surprise. No doubt many years have passed since SEGA and EA last talked. It’s a shame EA didn’t throw in Desert Strike or Jungle Strike too.

Either would be far more welcome than Kid Chameleon or Virtua Fighter 2, which also form part of the final 12. Kid Chameleon has made it every SEGA collection prior, while 1994’s 2D take on Virtua Fighter 2 did nothing but show how outdated the MD had become.

The remaining titles are thankfully decent, including legendary shooter Darius, the cult action platformer Alisia Dragoon, Monster World IV – which only gained an official English translation in 2012 – Capcom’s Strider, Treasure’s inventive platformer Dynamite Headdy, and the often-forgotten RPG Light Cruiser.

This leaves us with Columns and Eternal Champions. With Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine and Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition both present, these two feel a tad redundant.

Now that we know the full line-up, it’s immediately obvious a few keys titles are missing. Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are the biggest omissions, which suggests legal disputes regarding their music are still yet to be resolved. The original Streets of Rage, Golden Axe II, Ecco II, and Decap Attack are also no-shows. We would have happily taken any of these over Kid Chameleon and Virtua Fighter 2.

Still, and as many will agree, SEGA are taking their time with the Mega Drive Mini, making sure they get it ‘right’ and succeed were Sony’s PlayStation Classic failed.

The mini system – 55% the size of the iconic model one Mega Drive – looks the parts, conversion specialists M2 are at the helm, and at £69.99 (and stock still available at Amazon) the price is right.

With Castlevania: Bloodlines, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, Earthworm Jim, Mega Man: The Wily Wars, Contra: Hard Corps, and a handful of other rare and desirable titles confirmed months ago, it’s safe to say SEGA has exceeded all expectations. The only downside is that it’s bundled with a three-button controller, rather than a six-button model. It is, at least, compatible with the Retro-Bit six-button controller.

Maybe SEGA will listen to fans and ‘upgrade’ the pack-in controllers before launch (19th September). Wishful thinking, perhaps, but we can dream.

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