The SEGA 32X
September 07, 2020

Yes I know. The 32X was the most panned console add-on SEGA had ever created and one that came out in the wrong time when The Saturn was around the corner. The system had a tiny library as well, and not many games that were out on it were that memorable or even worth playing to be truthful. Also, why would you want to spend money on such a thing when another stand alone system was on its way anyway?

And it’s not like the 32X would exactly live to its promise either. The sound and graphic qualities were a bit above the Genesis but not by much and overall it just felt like SEGA was trying to sucker anyone into spending more money than you could ever bother to do at that time.

That being said, if back then I had the chance to get one of these to hook it up to my SEGA Mark II system I would definitely have bought it. Believe it or not, I do have some positive points as to why I would have done it and after reading this maybe you would agree with me.

While it was true that the 32X didn't had too much to offer on terms of an extensive gaming library, some of the titles released on it were more than enough for me to change my mind about it. Games like After Burner II Complete, Virtua Racing, and Space Harrier for one were the BEST conversions released on that system and very close to their Arcade counterparts. Moreover playing the original Space Harrier after only being able to do so on the master system and having a console sequel on the Genesis felt incredible to me.

Speaking of titles that were close to their arcade counterparts, NBA Jam TE and Mortal Kombat II were also great transitions. Sure, some of the sound on such was lacking but the 32X did its job on having a fair better version than the Genesis on its own would. I will also point out while the same can be said about DOOM, I would pretty much set it up there with games worth owning on this system. You may complain about this version, but to me it felt quite gratifying that you could dash through areas without stopped by some miniscule pixel you had to strafe around to continue going, and I for one was glad I did not had to squint to make out what was in front of me, something that was a con on the SNES port. I also don't need to say anything other than being able to own a DOOM port on any system would be a plus no matter what anyone would say.

Then we have Knuckles Chaotix, while not as polished as any other Sonic game at that point, it was the first and only game where Knuckles was the protagonist and introduced the Chaotix, who would later on appear in other games afterwards.* If anything, you would own this game as a novelty at the very least.

There is another positive in owning a 32X for your Genesis. The fact that games were cartridges instead of CDs. Yes, I know this would mean more memory constraints than the bigger internal memory of discs, but at the same time not having to wait for loading times and playing said games on the fly is actually something I am happy to sacrifice.

On the downside (one of many but stay with me on this one) only a few selected games could save progress on said system, not having something like an external card to save progress and scores unlike the PSX and the like, and also the fact some of the games, despite being cartridge based, could only be played by adding the SEGA CD besides it. Even so, I will stand on my own opinion that yes, I would had bought the 32X and would had enjoyed playing what games I could even if I didn't had the need to get a SEGA CD to enjoy most of these titles featured on it.

And I still own my Mark II Genesis, so chances are if I have income to spend, I would actually try and get said system along with said games. Time will tell.

*- I am aware that Mighty the Armadillo already was around before this title, just not featured on any console game at the time.

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