Mega Retron HD/Joyzz/Mega Everdrive Review

by on Oct.02, 2020, under Gaming

As you might have seen in my previous post, I’ve got a fair bit of love for my SEGA Megadrive which is still in working order. But 1994 is getting more and more in the rear view mirror and the old RCA cables don’t paint a great picture on a 4K telly. That’s where the good folk at Hyperkin came in and I decided it’s time to invest in some flashy new gear to bring my Megadrive into today’s day and age.

A disclaimer of sorts. I paid for these with my own funds, all of the opinions you’re about to read are my own, nobody is paying for this review, nor is anyone reviewing or approving what you’re about to read before it was published. Let’s look at the setup, and to any other Aussies out there a rough time frame of how long it took to get to my doorstep.

Hyperkin Mega Retron HD: Bought from CastleMania Games – roughly a month to get here.
Mega Everdrive X3 and Joyzz controller: Bought from Krikzz – roughly six weeks to arrive.

“Normal” setup

First off let’s focus on the Joyzz controller which is a very very good wireless option for a SEGA Megadrive six button controller and considering it was out before the RetroBit official SEGA offerings, and the wireless options from 8BitDo this does the job fantastically. It feels exactly like the pack in Mega Drive controller that came with the Model 2 Mega Drive and is charged via USB with a dongle that simply plugs into the controller port like a regular pad.

I’ve used my childhood copy of Sonic 3 & Knuckles as a test on my original Mega Drive II hardware with the Joyzz controller and there was literally no lag, and the only difference between using this pad and the official SEGA one is a lack of wires.

The real test of input and lag was putting the Joyzz to the test on Time Attack mode on Sonic CD and I’m happy to say that it was perfect. So for anyone out there looking for a control pad that’s basically 1:1 replica of an original SEGA Mega Drive six button controller minus the wires the Joyzz should be your weapon of choice!

High Definition Graphics – really!

While the Mega Drive doesn’t look too bad in off the screen photos, anyone that’s hooked up an old school console to an HD TV via the regular yellow composite cables knows it looks a bit like a dogs breakfast. That’s where the Mega Retron HD comes in handy!

I’m a very big fan of the visual aesthetic of the Mega Retron as it does look a bit like a cutesy Mega Drive but I can tell you right now it does the job. Let’s have a look at what it can do with Sonic 3 & Knuckles the subject once again:

Doesn’t look too bad at the title screen, but you can see that when we get to the gameplay that the differences really jump out at you.

The Mega Retron HD does a stellar job of upscaling the Mega Drive’s image and while it’s not bad through composite cables, the HDMI job it does without any need for special cables or an expensive Framemeister is fantastic! Let’s put it to the test though and see how it does with another game – in this case Shane Warne Cricket

So we’ve seen that the Retron HD can do a pretty bang up job of playing Mega Drive games flawlessly as you would expect from a stock standard non modified console. But there’s one game that’s always a thorn in the side of any clone console – Virtua Racing.

Emulators and clone consoles used to always give a big fat “NO WAY? NO WAY!” when it comes to playing Virtua Racing due to the game’s use of the Sega Virtual Processor (SVP) which was the Mega Drive response to the Super FX chip on the SNES. Well good news everyone, Virtua Racing runs like a charm on the Mega Retron HD.

So a big thumbs up from me for the Mega Retron HD – yes there’s some other options out there like Analogue’s Mega SG which is $265.61 AUD compared to the Retron which is $64.30 AUD. Both prices after shipping. The Mega SD has some pretty cool features but for bang for buck I hand it to the Retron.

The Mega Everdrive X3

Now when I picked up the Everdrive X3 back in 2017, this was the entry level flash cart and currently you can get a real souped up Everdrive that’s got SEGA Mega CD support on it too – but I already have a physical working Mega CD II, so CD support isn’t a big thing for me. Anyway on to the review!

While I’m using the X3 on the Retron, it’s exactly the same when used on original hardware – minus the HD graphics of course. Now the best part of the X3 is you can chuck a bunch of ROMs on an SD card (excluding Virtua Racing) even ROM hacks too and play it as if they were original cartridges. That works flawlessly, but one thing I really wanted to do was test it out on Master System games.

Sadly my childhood SEGA Master System has carked it, so unless I use a Power Base Converter those games are just ornaments. Thankfully if you load any Master System ROMs on to the Everdrive you can play them on your console no hassle… unless the game has a pause feature because the X3 doesn’t have a pause button – ah well.

In this case let’s see how the final Sonic game on the SMS, Sonic Chaos fares on the Everdrive.

Now in this case, the old HDMI looks a bit duller and washed out compared to the MegaDrive. Sonic Chaos just looks a lot like how I used to remember it playing it as a kid back in the day (when I called it “Sonic Chowse” cause I didn’t know how to pronounce ‘chaos’) but that’s just the title screen.

So there you have it, it’s not a bad investment all round and I’m incredibly chuffed with my purchases. There’s updated options in 2020 but the setup I have from 2017 is pretty damn good and ticks all the boxes, even today. Giant recommendation and I can’t emphasise how good the Joyzz is… although the RetroBit official SEGA offerings are out there too so you could always look at them too!

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