Over the holidays we were sent something of a throwback from Retro-Bit in the form of a retro gaming console. To be specific, they sent us the Super Retro-Cade, a brand new retro console to compete in the same realm with all the systems that have been released over the past year or so, where the games are built into the console and not relying on cartridges or discs. We plugged this baby into our TV and gave it a proper test run.
Let’s start with the console itself, which is sleek and white with a bit of red trim and some grey. At first glance, this reminded me of the revised NES “COntrol Deck” that came out in the early ’90s that was a top-loading system. The design is simple and effective with a power button on top and two USB slots on the front for the controllers. The back of the system has an AV hookup (red/white/yellow wires) as well as HDMI, and finally an SD Card slot for you to add extra memory or load games on the system to play.
The controllers are a bit of a confusing design. Clearly, the look is made to represent a SNES design, giving you the four primary buttons in the Nintendo configuration and a standard D-pad with Start and Select buttons in the middle and bumper buttons on the top. However, the spacing between the buttons doesn’t feel natural and there’s not an even flow for my right thumb to go between choices. Also, the grip of the controller doesn’t really hold up as it feels like I’m holding a melted controller as opposed to anything from Nintendo or Sega. I get what they were going for, but it doesn’t really make much sense when being used.
As to the library, Capcom is basically the mainstay in here with a wide selection of their catalog. While it’s nice to have a lot of choices, I was disappointed to see that some of their mainstays were not included. It’s great I got Mega Man 2, but where’s Mega Man 3? I got Double Dragon III, but no Street Fighter II? The selection of the library is interesting, but confusing as well and nearly chaotic in choice. Almost as if someone took all the games they could get, wrote them down on cards, and threw darts at the wall to decide what would go in.
As to the playability of the games, they are exactly as you remember them, but a little too nostalgic. I had forgotten what a pain some of these games were, and how often the controls were difficult to master, and it slowly dawned on me of how I broke my first NES controller. This is old-school bordering on annoying because even games I’ve mastered are now suddenly difficult, and I don’t believe this is a flaw with the hardware, so I have to assume the games have been tweaked just a bit to make them harder. Because I know damn well how to beat Burger Time, and those sausages move just a bit faster than I remember.
The Super Retro-Cade is pretty cool, but this is for your super-nostalgic hardcore gamer. Average gamers looking to relive their childhoods will be frustrated at the way some of these titles play, and others will become annoyed at the idea that not every Capcom title known to man is on here. But that’s not to say this is a bad system. It has flaws, but those flaws can be overlooked if they don’t matter to you.
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