I first heard rumors about this a few weeks back (May 2001) on the Tavern at Eidolon's Inn and it piqued my interest. A little research online gave me a few leads and I finally managed to track down a PAL unit at Raven Games in London for £39.99 plus £6.50 for Overnight delivery ($60 + $10). So what is it?

  • Take a Sega Genesis/Mega-Drive.
  • Add one '20 in 1' game cartridge.
  • Stick it all in a Joypad sized package.

Voila the Mega-Drive 3 is born!

'Mega Drive 3"

It's nothing we haven't all seen before except normally it's done with ancient 8-bit Nintendo Famicom/NES or Atari 2600 hardware, commonly called Famiclones, and as far as I'm aware this is the first time anyone's tried it with 16bit Sega Genesis/Mega-Drive hardware. Raven Games also say that this is an officially licensed Sega product, but I have my doubts...

First Impressions.

The unit comes in quite a large box (26cm x 24cm x 81/2cm) which seems fairly well printed with a PAL sticker on the front of the box as shown here :

Front of Box.

Back of Box.

I'm not sure if the 'Video' logo in the bottom-left of the front is simply a description (Video game) or the Manufacturer's name, I think it's just a description because the 'Mega Drive 3' itself has a different name on it (U.M.C). There's a big 'Licensed by Sega Enterprises Ltd.' notice on the back of the box, but there are a couple of small inconsistances on the box which began make me a little suspicious of this being true. On the front of the box and in the bottom-right corner of the back it says "Recommended for Ages 4 & up" but in the bottom-left corner of the back it says "Ages 5 & up", this might just be a minor quality control issue but it's the type of mistake the pirate/clone manufacturers commonly make.

What's in the box?

Everything comes in a moulded plastic tray which contains:

  • 'Mega Drive 3' pad.
  • AC Adapter.
  • Audio/Video Cable.
  • 'Mega Drive 3' Instruction manual.
  • Game Instruction Manual.

'Mega Drive 3' Instruction Booklets.

 Let's start with the instruction manuals, the main
 manual is fairly well done and contains all the
 information you need to get you going but it
 contains several spelling mistakes and
 inconsitences of internal logic, for instance it says
 not to turn the 'Mega Drive 3' rapidly on and off
 because this can short (sic) the battery life - the
 'Mega Drive 3' doesn't even use batteries!

 The Game manual is much worse, it has a very
 brief description of each game but this has
 obviously been very hastily translated from
 Chinese to English as it's absolutely riddled with
 spelling mistakes and poor grammar making it
 virtually useless, at least it admits that  several of
 the games are repeated though.

Despite the spelling mistakes etc. in the manuals it's far better than most famiclones which usually come with poor instructions, and that's if you get any at all!

The Audio/Video cable is a standard phono-jack cable that you normally find around the back of your Video or Hi-fi, it's pretty long too so you should be able to sit well back from the TV. However it's much easier with this sort of thing if you use a Euro-Scart adapter, which is mentioned in the manual but not supplied, and in the end I used the Scart cable that came with my famiclone which is a little longer than the supplied cable and allows me to sit on the sofa whilst playing on the 'Mega Drive 3', this meant I had to use an extension lead to plug the AC Adapter in though.

The AC Adapter is just a standard 9Volt mains adapter bearing a sticker with the Sega Logo and Sega Enterprises Ltd. along the bottom and it has a proper UK style plug attached so I didn't have to make any modifications to it or find another adapter. One minor fault with this is the length of the cable, it's almost a meter shorter than the supplied Audio/Video cable and you might have to use an extension cable as I did.

The 'Mega Dive 3' itself is about the same size as a Dreamcast Joypad and feels fairly light which was a bit of a surprise, I was expecting it to be much heavier. Here's a picture of it next to my Famiclone, which is the same size as a N64 pad, to give you a better idea how small it is.

Mine's made from a transparent purple plastic so you get a pretty good view of what's inside, it's

Mega Drive 3 next to Famiclone.

amazing just how small they've managed to make the main circuit board on this thing, it looks and feels pretty sturdy too so there are no complaints about general build quality.

Plugs on Top Edge of 'Mega Drive 3'

 Plugs for the AC Adapter and
 Audio/Video cable plus the on/off switch
 are located along the top edge of the unit
 so they are well out of the way and won't
 interfere with play. They're all well
 spaced out as well and there was no
 difficulty in plugging anything in.

On top you get the usual D-Pad, Reset and Start buttons plus six fire buttons. Quite why there are six fire buttons I'm not sure as none of the supplied games use all six buttons, unless of course someone in R&D was thinking ahead to a time when they might be needed...

'Mega Drive 4' anyone?

Top of 'Mega Drive 3'

There's a small Hologram on the underside of the unit which says:

Under licence from
Produced by U.M.C.

This implies that it's possibly an officially licensed product.

Connecting everything up was an absolute doddle, especially using my Scart cable in the AV2 Port on the back of my TV. I didn't even need to tune the TV in doing it this way I just turned the TV on to AV2 and switched the 'Mega Drive 3' on, simple 'Plug & Play' just like it says on the box - top marks for that. When you switch on the Sega licence screen appears,

this is part of the Genesis/Mega-Drive bios though which is needed to get the unit working so I'm still not 100% convinced it's an officially licensed product.

After a brief pause the Menu appears, this is a simple text menu like the one you get on other famiclones and many pirate game cartridges. Just select your game and press start to play, nice and simple but it would have been better if someone had put a little more effort into a decent frontend that used some of the 'Mega Drive 3's power.

Menu Screen

The Games.

As with most 'X in 1' carts you don't actually get 20 games, in this case you get 8 games plus 12 hacks of the same games, here's a list with links to the relevant reviews:

1. Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic in the all time classic platform game.
2. Torpedo Range. This is the same as 9. Starts on Round 3: Splashy Sea.
3. Tecmo World Cup. Soccer game ported from the arcade.
4. Space Invader 90. Space Invaders 90 is a revamp of the classic arcade game.
5. Mega Panel. Tetris type clone - Note: 2 player modes are not supported!
6. Peetan. Same as 7. Starts on round 12.
7. Flicky. Port of Sega's Arcade game. Note: This is a dual language game,
if you buy an NTSC unit it may well run in Japanese!
8. Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Same as 1. Starts on Green hill zone act 2 (level 2)
Note: This only works the first time you play! After you've played
once, or if you let the demo mode start, it will start on Level 1 as usual!
9. Alex Kids. Alexx Kidd in the Enchanted Castle is another of Sega's popular
and long running series of platformers. (Japanese)
10. Town. Same as 7. Starts on round 36.
11. Fatal Labyrinth. Dungeon crawler Note: This is a dual language game, if you buy an
NTSC unit it may well run in Japanese!
12. Sonic the Hedgehog 3. same as 1. Starts on Labyrinth zone act 3 (level 3)
Note: This only works the first time you play! After you've played
once, or if you let the demo mode start, it will start on Level 1 as usual!
13. Dungeon Land. Same as 9. Start in Egypt. (level?)
14. Sonic the Hedgehog 5. Same as 1. Starts on Scrap brain zone act 2. (level 5)
Note: This only works the first time you play! After you've played
once, or if you let the demo mode start, it will start on Level 1 as usual!
15. Titus the Fox. Same as 9. Increased difficulty / level?
16. Son Son. Same as 9. Increased difficulty / level? Start in Desert.
17. Sonic the Hedgehog 6. Same as 1. Starts on Final zone Note: This only works the first time you play! After you've played once, or if you let the demo mode start, it will start on Level 1 as usual!
18. Flappy. Same as 7. Starts on round 24.
19. Catworld. Same as 7. Starts on round 48.
20. Columns. Sega's answer to Tetris, and just as addictive.
Note: 2 player modes are not supported!

That's a pretty fair spread of game genres so there should be something on here to please most people and there are four of my favourites too (Sonic, Space Invaders 90, Flicky, Columns). The picture and sound quality are both very good and everything appears to run just fine, it's just like using the real thing.

On the down side Alex Kidd and Mega Panel are in Japanese. It would have been better if the English language version of Alexx Kidd and something other than Megpanel, which was only ever released in Japanese, had been put onto this PAL unit. Also Flicky and Fatal Labyrinth are dual language games and although they run in English on the PAL unit I suspect that if you buy an NTSC machine that these games might also run in Japanese, bad news for our American friends.

Columns & Mega Panel both have 2 Player modes which are not available on the 'Mega Drive 3",
they play just fine in Single player modes though so this is on a minor gripe. Some of the better Famiclones have a second joystick trailing off the main Pad/unit and it would perhaps have been nice to see that here too so you could get the maximum enjoyment from these games.

The pad is pretty comfortable to hold but I did find one minor fault with extended play - there is a small heat sink on the underside of the circuit board between the D-Pad and the power plug and this lies right where your fingers rest, it can get quite warm after a while!

Heat sink can get hot!


This is a pretty impressive unit and here are my thoughts on it so far:

  • Retro gaming the way it was meant to be - on your telly.
  • Easy 'Plug & Play' installation .
  • Good build quality.
  • Good picture and sound quality.
  • Just like the real thing.
  • Only eight games.
  • No way to change the games - once your fed up of them your stuck.
  • Heat sink needs to be moved.
  • AC Adapter needs a longer wire (but my Scart cable is ridiculously long!)
  • A little expensive - possibly for collectors only.