When we posted news about the Blaze Sega Mega Drive handheld console last month, we like a lot of our fellow readers were excited to bits to see the resurrection of some all time classic Sega Mega drive games on a handheld console that is much smaller than a PSP.
In fact we got so excited about it that we bought one for ourselves and we have to say it was worth every penny!
The console is packaged inside one of those plastic factory seal jobbies, so its well styled, but tough to get into. So careful cutting with a pair of scissors is a must.
Inside the box you get a small colour manual explaining how use the console and play all the games etc, a TV-out composite cable with a single audio attachment (which you can use to plug the console into your TV) and the console itself of course.
The first thing you will notice is just how small and light the console is (it weighs around 100g, even with the batteries). Using a ruler the console measures just over 13cm wide, 6cm high and has a depth at just over 1.5cm.
To cut the costs down there is a plastic theme that runs throughout its design, but yet the console still features a scratch proof cover at the front (protecting the screen) and there has certainly been an element of pride etched within the design that is for sure, because even with its price being quite low they have added the quality were it counts....
Its 2.2" screen may be on the small side but its colours are vibrant, there is also a little loop hole to the side for adding a wrist strap.
The d-pad is responsive and comfortable to use, as are the A. B. C buttons to the right. At the top you have a volume wheel, a slide-switch for your on/off control and a TV-out 3.5mm port, which is used for connecting the console up to your TV.
To the front you have a main menu button which is used to quickly go back to the game selection screen at any point in time and a Start/Pause button, which is used for controlling your games.
Finally at the base you will find a 3.5mm headphone port which is useful for listening to the console when in public places.
We have to admit that the first few hours of playing were spent smiling, as we were suddenly led back to the days of our youth - as soon as you start up the console and run through a selection of the classic games you will know what we mean.
However when you get past the nostalgic stage you actually start to think, hang on a minute, these games are still pretty darn good! And they have certainly not lost any of their addictive qualities.
The main menu has four pages of games that can be scrolled through using the d-pad. Selecting a game is simply a case of using the start button. When you are bored with one game you can then press the Menu button to return quickly to the game selection choices.
Games fire up pretty quickly and run extremely smooth, as mentioned the screen may be small - and you can get boggle eyed - but the colours are vibrant. You won't be able to save games either, so you will need to pause the action to take a rest.
There are enough varied games to suite most people tastes, from platform style games, to shoot-um-ups, so on the whole Blaze have picked a good selection to keep you occupied.
In total you have 20 games which are as follows......
Alex Kidd, Alien Storm, Altered Beast, Arrow Flash, Columns 3, Crack Down, Decap Attack, Mean Bean Machine, Ecco, Ecco JR, ESWAT, Flicky, Gain Ground, Golden Axe, Jewel Master, Kid Chameleon, Shadow Dancer, Shinobi 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic Spinball.
One thing’s for sure you do forget just how tough games were back in the 90's!
For us the only thing missing from the above list was the inclusion of 'Streets of Rage'. We think that another Blaze console will no doubt arise with a different selection of games in the future, so there is still hope.
During gameplay the internal speakers were pretty darn impressive for such a low priced product. And when the music/sound effects race through your body you almost feel transported back to the glory days of gaming. This is enhanced further by linking up the console up to your TV via the supplied TV-out cable.
With this option Its almost like you have got the Mega Drive console back under your TV set and your mom/dad is screaming at you to stop playing the games and get ready for tea.
Sadly the only downside to the games is the 2 Player option, whilst the games support the latter you cannot participate in this function. For this Blaze do a separate console system, which is also available from their re-seller site.
The headphone port at the base is also a really nice touch and just shows that even though you are only paying £30+ for this console you are not short changed on features.
As for battery life the console fairs well, you have to buy 3 x AAA batteries (as the batteries are not included), but even with a cheap set that we added, they lasted around 5 days.
Note: The only indication that you know the batteries are going is when the controls start to react strangely.