The Sega Mega Drive & Genesis Classics Hub has now arrived on Steam, followings its announcement. For the most part it isn't all that interesting, even if playing classic games from yesteryear via a drab virtual bedroom against eerie acoustics is your bag. No, what's exciting is the fact that Sega have added Steam Workshop support to their library of Mega Drive/Genesis games on the platform, allowing intuitive modders to upload and share loads of ROM hacks of the classics. Here are few that caught my eye.
As you might expect, the multitude of hacks and mods range from the sublime to the ridiculous. The former camp boasts tinkerings such as TheBlad768's Sonic 3 & Knuckles Hard Bosses Edition 2 which ups the difficulty of standard end-level bosses, adds entirely new bosses, and introduces nifty features such as "ring insurance" - a bonus which lets players collect 10 rings from checkpoints prior to said end-of-zone boss encounters. PatricK CruZ's Streets of Fighter series welcomes Street Fighter characters - such as Ryu, Vega and Chun Li - into the Streets of Rage world; whereas SMO5's Ecco the Orca swaps the familiar dolphin protagonist out for an orca whale. Both are relatively simple but distinctly cool tweaks.
Then there's odd concoctions like TheRavenfreak's Ring the Ring which appears to swap Sonic for, yup, a ring. "Ever wanted to play as a ring instead of Sonic?" the creator asks in the hack's description. "Ring the Ring is just the hack for you!" Then there's Adrock4's contribution, which is not only the weirdest but, at the time of writing, also the most downloaded of the lot: Streets of Rage 2 Except It Makes That Weird Tim Allen Noise When People Die. Which is...um...yeah:
Interestingly, Sega appear to be letting users police themselves for now, and so far haven't drawn a line between legitimate hacks and copyright infringement. Some 'mods' uploaded are simply wholly different games.
If you want help or tools to make a mod, don't look to Sega. They explain:
"We are not releasing any modding tools with this update. The Steam Workshop functionality is a platform to share the wealth of custom Mega Drive & Genesis ROMs out there and support the highly talented and engaged community of modders behind them.
"Now content creators can easily share their custom ROMs with other Mega Drive & Genesis fans giving a new perspective on so many beloved retro titles."
All mods and hacks can be found via the Sega Genesis & Mega Drive Classics Steam Workshop.