Feature: Hyperkin Retron3 Console Review
Posted by Damien McFerran
The unholy three-in-one
Those of you with sharp memories will recall that we reviewed the Retro Duo console a few months back and were quite impressed with the system's power to grant new life to dusty old Nintendo cartridges.
We've since been sent yet another of these "clone" systems to take a look at, but this time there's a twist - instead of just playing SNES and NES titles, the Hyperkin Retron3 also offers up the opportunity to enjoy your old Sega Genesis (Mega Drive to those of you outside of North America) cartridges as well.
It's not actually the first machine to offer this three-system setup - the Yobo FC3 has that distinction - but the Retron3 has one extremely important advantage over its rival: you can use your old NES, SNES and Genesis controllers with it.
Situated on the three of the console's sides are six controller ports - two for each system. The machine comes with two of its own wireless pads which are modelled on the Sega Genesis Mark II joypads, but these are pretty abysmal and should be left in the box.
There's simply no substitute for using the original, authentic pads and for that reason the Retron3 scores massive points over other clone machines, which often force you to use tacky proprietary controllers.
The Retron3 comes with composite cables and an S-Video cable, but sadly only the SNES and Genesis support the latter. S-Video offers a very impressive picture - almost as good as the real thing running through a SCART connection - and this helps the 16-bit titles to really shine, especially when played on a modern LCD television.
Compatibility has always been an issue with clone consoles and the Retron3 is no exception. While it's able to deal with potentially problematic titles such as Starfox on the SNES, it refuses to load up the SVP-enabled Virtua Racing on the Sega Genesis. However, it does accept the Super Game Boy peripheral.
Being able to access three different consoles from one base unit is a real bonus and the ability to use your original controllers ensures an authentic experience. The emulation isn't 100% perfect - for example, many NES games sound different to how they would when running on official hardware - but all things considered the Retron3 performs admirably and is well worth considering if you're sick of having three different retro machines taking up valuable space under you TV.
We’d like to thank Stone Age Gamer for providing us with the review unit. The Retron3 currently retails for $54.99 (plus shipping) and Stone Age Gamer’s level of service is incredibly professional and quick.
Gamers ordering from outside of North America will need to purchase a step-down voltage converter to use this system.