I love the fact that the Chinese are masters of pirated classic gaming hardware. Let’s give them a cheer! Go the Chinese go! Backwards engineer classic consoles! Cheer complete. At some point Nintendo took a Famiclone manufacturer to court and lost the lawsuit. As I understand the situation, the copyright on the original NES’ hardware ran out and it is technically legal to manufacture and sell systems that play original Nintendo games as long as they contain no actual Nintendo software. This opened the floodgates for many other Famiclone manufacturers to try to fill a new potentially legally grey market. There have been some units that have supposedly gotten the big N’s blessing and some that have had the hammer fall on them for including Nintendo’s software without their permission. Anyone that dares to manufacture and sell a Famiclone is risking bringing down Nintendo’s wrath. I can only assume that the few Megaclones that exist fall into a similar grey area. If all goes well and a PS or N64 on a chip is developed and the legal loopholes that make these systems saleable don’t get sealed up we should only be a few years away from Sony and N64 clones. I count the days.
Please please please hurry the Chinese! I want my Onestation Max 64!
MD Max is slightly larger then the Onestation which is in turn a bit bigger then a Gameboy Micro. The back has a cheaply made DC 5.2V in that fits a GBA charger. Next to this is the battery compartment that fits 4 AAA batteries. The cartridge slot is off center and small. The cartridges are very small which makes it quite puzzling that the cartridges don’t fit all the way into the unit but stick slightly out. This design is par for course for the Onestation design if a bit uglier and less cool. Please the Chinese, make the cartridges fit all the way into the next pirated classic game console you make. On the front of the unit are a plus pad, Reset, Start/Pause and A, B, and C buttons that are arranged vertically along the right side of the unit. The screen is similar in size to a Gameboy Micro but has an aspect ratio of 16:9. This is one of the biggest problems with the MD Max. The original Sega games had an aspect ratio of 4:3 (possibly 3:2?) and MD Max stretches the image to fit the MD Max screen. Additionally the screen resolution is not that great, above average for a portable but not fantastic. Otherwise the screen is nice and bright with no ghosting.
Bellow is a decent video of the system in action courtesy of a user on youtube.com.
The MD Max is somewhat easy to find online but the library of games is quite small and are difficult to find online. This narrows the desirability of the console down to something only a serious collector would want unless they could find some games they wanted to go with the system. I was only able to find one worthwhile cart online from http://www.dealextreme.com. The cart is labeled MD Digital 5 in 1 JPS3A-004 and once powered on the title screen says King Series 5 in 1 SG3A004. Much like Onestation carts it features several games on a single cart. MD Digital 5 in 1 JPS3A-004 AKA King Series 5 in 1 SG3A004 features
- World Champion Soccer
- NBA Basket Ball
- Sonic 2
- Terminator 2
- Fighting Master
I have no idea how good any of the sports games are as I have little experience outside of Madden 94 and some extreme sports titles. Terminator 2 is pretty awful as is Fighting Masters. Of all the fighting games for the Genesis Fighting Masters must be the worst… According to the demo screen text a giant Red Sun is going to go supernova “within hours” and 12 planets will be destroyed so they each have one representative who will fight in combat to the death with the winning planet being saved by an “omnipotent” race called the Primaries. Apparently the Primaries are total dicks since, in addition to waiting to the last minute to intercede, being omnipotent they could save all 12 planets. The player may, assuming they can stomach the
clichéd classic plot, select between 12 characters including an oversized monstrous plant straight out of Little Shop of Horrors, an elephant-headed man that looks strangely like the Indian god Ganesh sans extra arms, and a 57 ft tall troll named Uppercut who, get this, wears boxing gloves. This all seems very cool until you try to play and encounter the crappy controls, obnoxious sound, and terrible animations.
This leaves Sonic. My readers must think I am completely obsessed with Sonic. This might be a tiny bit true however, that is beside the point. Except for looking a bit stretched and having some ugly graphical problems around the edge of the screen throughout the first level the game looks pretty good and plays perfectly. The sound is surprisingly good and although the system lacks a headphone out it does have an AV out which is a potential bonus for these systems.
I Am Handheld has been generating some traffic that might like scores along with the review type entries. To that end here are the scores for MD Max. Let me know if you like or dislike them.
Screen: 7/10 Bright but a bit low res, aspect ratio is wrong for the system.
Sound: 7/10 Has one speaker that sounds pretty good however there is no headphone jack.
Controls: 8/10 controls are a bit mushy but feel plenty responsive.
Availability: 8/10 Still can be found new online.
Price: 8/10 Still can be found online new for under $40.
Library: 3/10 Plays Megadrive/Genesis games however selection is small and games are hard to find.
Overall: 5/10 Hampered by a screen that is the wrong size and a small library the system is not the best unless you can find carts that have games you really want on them.