Hardware Review: Krikzz's Mega Everdrive Sega Mega Drive Flash Card

Hardware-Review-Krikkzs-Mega-Everdrive-Sega-Mega-Drive-Flash-CartridgeIf someone had told you in 1992 that the future would bring a single cartridge that could hold the entire Sega Mega Drive library, would you have believed them? Probably not, but twenty years on we have been gifted with such a device - the Mega Everdrive.

The Mega Everdrive is Krikzz’s highly anticipated update to the original Everdrive cartridge which has joined the ranks of the ever growing range of retro gaming flash cartridges. Should you be unfamiliar with the Everdrive series, these state-of-the-art devices allow you to place game ROMs onto an SD card and load them up on the original hardware via an easy to navigate menu system. Prior to these innovations, most gamers had to make do with outdated solutions such as floppy disk loading devices which broke down single games over numerous disks. Needless to say, the process of getting ROM files onto the original hardware was clunky and time consuming. Only the most die hard retro gamers made the most of these troublesome devices.

The arrival of Krikzz’s products, however, has since eliminated the need for such out-dated hardware, by simplifying the entire process. Anyone armed with a SD card and an Everdrive cartridge instantly has access to just about every retro game ever made. Just power on, navigate through the files on your memory card and start your game of choice. It’s that simple.

After the original Mega Drive Everdrive cartridge was released several years ago, the Super Nintendo, Master System, Game Gear and Nintendo 64 were soon bestowed identical devices (with the Turbografx 16 next in line for similar functionality). But even after these impressive releases, Krikzz was left with the feeling of unfinished business where the Mega Drive was concerned. His favourite console of all time still had plenty of untapped potential.

If you thought loading ROMs off a SD card onto the original hardware was impressive, the updated and newly dubbed Mega Everdrive is set to change your gaming world forever.

Rewind to the time to when it took ages to be this good

At $143, the Mega Everdrive isn’t the cheapest of Mega Drive flash cards. The much simpler Everdrive can be had for just $78 now, so what exactly are you getting for almost twice the price? The power to turn back time coupled with a plethora of new additions...

One of the most attractive parts of using emulators on the PC is the ability to pause games whenever you please. These freeze frame pauses also act as a safety net for those tough moments where you’re ringless in Sonic. The closest to enjoying such luxuries on the original hardware is being equipped with a Game Genie or Pro Action Replay whilst leaving the game on pause for days on end, which of course is far from ideal - unless of course you happen to have the Mega Everdrive.

Incredibly, Krikzz has managed to replicate the Save State functionality found in emulation on the original Sega Mega Drive hardware. By simply pressing Down + Start during gameplay a pop up menu safely interrupts the action to offer you several options; Save State, Load State, or Back To Menu. By choosing the first of these selections the Mega Everdrive will make a snapshot of where you are currently in game, allowing you to instantly resume where you left off whenever you please. These saves are stored away on the SD card for later use, allowing you to casually tackle a single level of Alien Soldier one step at a time without the worry of that persistent ‘game over’ screen.

Perhaps, this could be considered cheating, but how you take advantage of this new-found power is up to you. These features work a treat for those frustrating moments when life calls during a game with no built in save functionality. But should beating games with ease be more your cup of tea, prepare to throw away your Game Genie and Pro Action Replay cartridges. The Mega Everdrive features on board Game Genie and Pro Action Replay code compatibility, allowing you to not only save state your way through your favourites, but to cheat your way through too.

Not Just a 16-Bit Library

As you’ll soon be gliding through your favourite games in no time, you’ll undoubtedly be left wondering what to play next. Luckily Krikzz has yet another treat in store for those moments when it feels like the Mega Drive has nothing left to offer. Not only does the Mega Everdrive allow you to play 32X games off the flash cartridge (when connected to a 32X), but also Sega Master System games without the need of any adapters. Classic 8-bit Sega games such as Alex Kidd in Miracle World and The Lucky Dime Caper can be run from the Mega Everdrive, leaving little reason to keep a Master System around. The only downside to the additional console support is that the marvelled save state functionality sadly doesn’t work on Master System or 32X game ROMs.

For those who already own the original Everdrive who are looking for another reason to invest beyond the new functionality are in luck. Alongside the still present features found in the original Everdrive such as Mega CD BIOS loading (to play Mega CD imports easily), there is a key improvement worth noting... The arrival of more power underneath the hood has made the loading of ROMs a much faster affair. On average, games took around 7 to 8 seconds to write themselves to the Everdrive before launching, where the Mega Everdrive takes just a few seconds before the action is on screen.

With so many features and the potential to contain every Mega Drive game in a single cartridge, it’s unlikely that the Mega Everdrive will ever leave your console’s cartridge slot. If this streamlined convenience isn’t quite enough though, Krikzz has also removed the need to ever leave your comfy perch too. The ‘Back To Menu’ option hidden at the bottom of the in-game pop up menu allows you to effectively reset your console and head back to the ROM selection screen without moving an inch. Is there anything this cartridge can’t do?

Unfortunately, the Mega Everdrive’s Mega Drive Save State functionality is incompatible when the 32X is plugged into your console. Whilst the Mega Everdrive does seem capable of saving any game whilst connected to the 32X, as soon as the menu returns the video signal loses sync and leaves you with a black screen. That said though, apart from Knuckles Chaotix and Kolibri, there aren’t many games on the 32X worthy of such functionality. Alongside this minor inconvenience, the Mega Everdrive is incompatible with a few Mega Drive game ROMs such as Virtua Racing, Mega Man The Wily Wars, and several EA Sports games.

Mega Everdrive in action

Conclusion

Never before has enjoying everything a console has to offer been this easy. As mad as it sounds the previous solution to enjoying the Mega Drive’s library through emulation is quickly becoming overshadowed. Whilst the initial purchase may be a little more than your usual spend, having access to over a thousand games on one cartridge makes it worth every penny.

Without a doubt the Mega Everdrive is a must have for anyone who considers themselves a Mega Drive aficionado.

Link: Krikkz's Mega Everdrive


Last Updated ( 23 June 2012 )  

Cauterize

Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

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Comments 

(Link to this comment) JoeMD 2012-06-24 23:32
Wow, what I'd give for one of thses. But at that price, I think it's going to have to remain a dream. :-?
(Link to this comment) hog8oy 2012-12-15 18:12
oh to have this back in the early 90's!
(Link to this comment) Wheezy1892 2013-08-29 07:05
Where can you buy it?
Also the super Nintendo one?
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