Review by Saikyo Ki

Reviewed: 07/11/01 | Updated: 07/11/01

Had great potential, but wasn't able to take enough market share.

Because of the fact that Nintendo made it so that developers that made NES games couldn't make SMS games, the Sega Master System was not able to survive very long. It's a shame that it didn't, it was a good system with some pretty darn good games. If it was able to get a bigger piece of market share, it would have been neck and neck with the NES.

Graphics Capabilities: 9
The Master System was actually technically superior to the NES unit in every way. It had a stronger CPU, more internal RAM, more colors to choose from and more colors on screen. The Master System had the potential for awesome graphics during its life. If Nintendo hadn't thought of its idea to add coprocessors to game cartridges, the Master System would have easily been superior in this category. Strangely enough, although there were games that tapped out the SMS's power extremely well and actually surpassed the NES at times, there were games that looked like complete crap also.

Audio Capabilities: 9
About the same as the NES.

Controller Design: 9
Also basically like the NES, but the pause button was on the actual system, which is kinda cumbersome.

Game Library: 7
The game library didn't have much of a chance to flourish because of the strong hold Nintendo had on the market, but each genre was touched. The crown jewel of the SMS's lineup was without a doubt Wonder Boy III: Dragons Trap! I myself have played it; it is a stellar adventure game with great 8 bit graphics and innovative, fun gameplay. SMS fans also herald Phantasy Star as one of the best SMS games and one of the best 8 bit RPGs (some go as far as saying it was THE best 8 bit RPG). For some reason, however, as much as there were great games, there were also crappy ones (like ALF, which had horrible, horrible graphics, although the game itself was kind of fun).

An SMS with 3D glasses was released a while after the first SMS. Current SMS owners didn't wanna buy a whole new system, but people who hadn't bought a console yet were in for a treat! ''3D'' games on the 3D SMS were not only cool looking, but FUN! Having the game jump out at you opened the door for many possibilities. The 3D SMS unit also actually had a small, quite fun game built into it, Missile Defense 3D. This, however, still wasn't enough to keep the SMS afloat.

Bottom Line?
This system was made before Sega started making mistakes. Great system, some great games, good advertising. If you can find a unit and games for it, you will probably it just as much as an NES, as long as you stay away from the crappy games and get the good ones. It really is an enjoyable console, which is why I give it a 9.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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