Japanese Mega Drive and Genesis and Art Comparison

This post is simply a collection of pictures of my Japanese Mega Drive collection, and when applicable, comparisons of artwork between North America and Japan. Enjoy!

Two games that did not get western releases. It's a shame, as they probably would have sold well. 

It's interesting that the artwork is completely different for every release of Streets of Rage / Bare Knuckle. 

The Street Fighter series

Golden Axe did not receive a domestic port of part III. I think I actually like the American artwork better for this series, if just a smidge.

My favorite trilogy on the Genesis. Many people malign the American Shadow Dancer cover art, I kinda like the subtle approach. The Japanese art with the lightning and all confuses the issue I think. The American Revenge of Shinobi art is iconic, and is forever emblazoned in my memory as on of my earliest Genesis memories.

Thunder Force as a series was making strides with the release of TF3, why in the world did they change the name of TF4 to Lightening Force? It's regarded by many as the best shooter on the console, and they had to go and disassociate it from the Thunder Force name? Just another one of Sega's blunders. 

The Ghouls 'n Ghosts artwork is so awesome I'm glad it was not changed. The artwork on both versions of Crackdown are subpar. The Japanese Gain Ground artwork is confusing, so the more traditional presentation for the US is more appealing.

In this pic, the Japanese art work sweeps the board. Everytime I see Bill Pullman I think of the US Strider boxart. 

I feel that its harder to mess up artwork for shooters, or at least it should be. Why did the Air Buster 
artwork have to be changed? Or After Burner II for that matter? However, I do like the US Arrow Flash cover better. 
The Assault Suits Leynos cover is badass, unlike the Battlestar Galactic ripoff that was retitled as Target Earth. Trouble Shooter looks like Charlie's Angels in space. 

I don't know what the boxart for Crying is supposed to convey, so at least Bio Hazard Battle offers up somewhat of a concept. Darius II and Sagaia are similar enough. Honestly I don't care for either cover of Elemental Master. I think the US artwork for Steel Empire is better than the hazy abstract art on the MD cover.

The US Gaiares cover is pretty bad, and the Japanese cover feels like its sending a deeper message. Forgotten Worlds is identical, G-Loc is OK for both versions, but the shiny floating robot chic on the Japanese Galaxy Force II is out of left field.

Wings of Wor goes for a more realistic approach compared to Gynoug. The others are largely unchanged.

The US Twin Cobra cover is fairly generic compared to the menacing Tiger. Musha and Musha Aleste have great art, this just depends on if you like the anime stylings of the latter. The Japanese Vapor Trail is again a bit too abstract for its own good. Phelios is again whitewashing the anime out of the cover.

The US received two variants of Raiden Trad for some reason, neither of which are as cool as the Japanese version. Fire Shark keeps the same theme, although the pilot looks more heroic on the US version when compared to the embittered pilot on the Japanese cover.

The only changes here are Task Force Harrier, in which the US version is less explosion-ey.

Minor cover art changes aside, what's with the diminutive cartridge case on Super Fantasy Zone? Its adorable. 

These are the heavies, and they did not receive US counterparts. Being that they are great games, the fact that they were not ported and thus fewer copies of the games exist probably contribute to their asking price.

No US ports to compare here.

More unimported shooters.

Review: Power A Fusion Wired Fightpad for Switch and Playstation 4

With more retro game collections being published on modern consoles, comes a need for retro inspired controllers that are compatible with modern consoles. The PS5 Dualsense controller is a great controller, but it still has a crappy dpad, which is essential for 2D games. Some third party companies have had great success with newer lines of retro controllers, such as 8Bitdo and Retrobit, but their controllers are not compatible with the Playstation line of consoles. 

Power A is a third party controller manufacturer that has a wide breadth of products for modern consoles, and I never really paid too much attention to their products. Enter: the Power A Fusion wired fightpad. This controller is clearly modeled after the Sega Saturn model 2 controller, which no one will argue is a bad choice. The "fightpad" descriptor is applied as it has the six face buttons that are necessary for most fighting games (ever since Street Fighter set the precedent), but it is for general 2D use as well.

It is perfect for the Contra collection, Castlevania collection, Megaman collection, Genesis classics, and so on. New collections appear every year, so for those of us who need a proper dpad this is a no brainer. The exception would be for 8 and 16 bit Mario games. I think those games are best served by a NES or SNES controller, as the Nintendo dpad is inseparable from the Mario experience. As good as the Saturn style dpad is, it would be blasphemy to use it in that way. 

There are so many good retro collections these days

The build quality is impressive, it feels solid in the hand, much more than the original Saturn controller (which was fairly light). The dpad feels very good, it is raised and floaty to the same extent, with a touch more reistance that enables you to feel the directionals a bit more. The buttons are all the same size, which is an improvement over the different sized buttons in my opinion. The are convex and glossy, and have a deeper press travel. It is a different feel, but it is not a bad one. Depending on the version of the pad (XBox, PS4, Switch), the various home, select, start, plus, minus buttons are present and placed somewhat centrally. 

The shoulder buttons have a psuedo clicky response, which is very responsive and shallow. I have always felt that the Saturn controller's shoulder buttons were too "clicky", and this is an improvement. There are also triggers, which have a deeper pull, yet terminate earlier than on a PS4 controller, which makes sense as they are not analog so the longer trigger pull is not necessary. There is a toggle switch on the top of the controller that allows you to select your shoulder/trigger button assignments, which is a nice touch.

trigger toggle for the PS4 version

...and on the Switch variant

The decision to make this a wired controller is a good one in my opinion. It is unlikely that this controller will be someone's primary controller for the PS4 or Switch, so if it were wireless that would require a charge, which would be a hassle. Being hard wired also decreases latency, which is important in games with fast action, like fighting games.

The usb cable has tabs for click-in security

Another feature, which is totally unnecessary, is the swappable face plate feature. The top plate is attached by magnets, and each controller comes with three color options. I don't know why this is a thing, and it probably raises the price a bit. I like the blue for PS4 and red for Switch, but to each their own.

These were sold for $50, which perhaps is a bit steep for what it is. It would have been more cost efficient to forgo the swappable plates, and maybe have been more appealing at a lower price point. I do not believe these are being sold at retail currently, so whatever the price on the secondary market is what it is. The Switch has more 3rd party 2D controller options available, such as the 8Bitdo M30 (bluetooth and 2.4ghz) and officially licensed Retrobit Sega controllers, so this is perhaps not the first option there. The PS4 and Xbox do not have as many options, so this fills a greater need there. 

In conclusion, these controllers are very good for the purpose that they are intended - for use with 2D games on modern consoles. I would not try to use these for any 3D game. That being said, they will definitely have some utility as more and more retro game collections are released. I don't get the sense that these sold very well, so if you're interested pick them up sooner than later.