In addition to my affection for Commodore’s range of computers I also have quite a soft spot for the Sega Mega Drive. I was really excited when I discovered that ‘Big Evil Corp‘ had developed a brand new game called Tanglewood and were planning to do a proper physical release. I pre-ordered it on the spot. That was 8 months ago now though so I’d almost forgotten all about it. Almost.
On Saturday morning I received a sturdy looking cardboard box in the post with the ‘Big Evil Corp’ logo on it. I instantly knew what it was and my excitement level peaked again as I hastily ripped the packaging open to reveal the contents inside. I was not disappointed!
Although I backed Xeno Crisis on Kickstarter over a year ago, that has still not materialised so this is the first brand new Mega Drive game I’ve clapped eyes on in well over 20 years. Although lacking the Sega Mega Drive logo on the cover (for legal reasons) they have otherwise captured the essence of what a Mega Drive game box should look like perfectly. Opening the case up reveals a beautifully made full colour instruction booklet (remember them?) and the cartridge in all its glory. The box even has that annoying retail hanger on the top for the ultimate in authenticity!
Although I own an original Sega Mega Drive and Mega Drive II console, the console I actually use 99% of the time is an AtGames Flashback HD. I know these AtGames clones get a lot of stick online but personally I think it’s a great piece of kit for the money, especially for a casual owner like myself. It has super crisp HDMI out, wireless pads, a proper cartridge slot and it also allows game save states which are a godsend these days. I do occasionally experience the odd minor sound glitch or stutter in some games but never anything that spoils my enjoyment.
Why am I mentioning this? Well I must admit I was a little nervous when I inserted the cart and switched my console on. With it being a brand new cart I was worried they might have done things a little differently causing the game to ‘break’ on my console. Would they even know about the Flashback HD and would they have tested their game with such a clone?
Happily all my concerns were completely unfounded and the cart was recognised straight away. I sank a good few hours into the game and experienced no issues with it what-so-ever. I’m enjoying the game immensely too, it looks beautiful, has some great sound effects and music and the main character is endearing and beautifully animated. It’s just an all round charming and fun game to play. I’m sure it would have featured high in the charts had it been released during the Mega Drive’s heyday.
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I’m also a big fan of Tanglewood. Such a great game. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve cleared it.
I know firsthand that Matt Philips worked hard to make sure Tanglewood would work with original hardware and clone consoles like those made by At@Games. There’s even an option in the games setting menu specifically for clone systems.
Yes it’s a terrific game – I hope it, along with the upcoming Xeno Crisis are the first of many new games for the Mega Drive system. It’s reassuring to know they spent a lot of time testing it on all hardware versions too. Nudges me a little closer towards pulling the trigger on an Analogue Mega SG!