An exceptionally polished Sega Mega Drive/Genesis emulator for Win9x written by Stéphane Dallongeville. Gens is also aiming to provide Mega CD support. Although it is still lacking support for the more obscure MD peripherals and addons (such as the Menacer or the SVP chip), Gens boasts an outstanding compatibility record (the readme claims around 97%, but this figure was derived from a significantly incomplete ROM library). Sound emulation is near-perfect (DGen's is slightly less prone to glitches and has a seemingly more accurate emulation of the Yamaha chip). It is visual emulation where Gens really shines however, as it manages to recreate all the raster effects out there. The upshot of this is that Road Rash 1-3, the Out Run series and a number of other games using strange scrolling hacks (e.g. Earthworm Jim 2) work without a hitch.

Better yet, Gens rounds off this visual splendour with a selection of rendering modes, the last of which, 2xSAI, produces a remarkable smoothing effect giving some games a cel-shaded appearance. (Road Rash 2, for instance, looks amazing, as does Shinobi III - and as for X-Men 2...) This has the added benefit of making games with lots of cross-hatching look almost like animated Lichenstein paintings. (Maybe one day someone will work out a 'smart cross-hatching recolouration filter'. Or I could just play SNES games I suppose.)

There's not much negative stuff to say about Gens, bar the fact that it is a bit processor intensive and struggles a bit with some games when all the settings are cranked up to the max. And it has an amazing amount of trouble trying to run Animaniacs for some reason. The new benchmark for Mega Drive emulation, I reckon.

Regarding the previous writeup: DGen also manages a virtually perfect MD emulation for Windows (Road Rash aside). Genecyst had the same save mechanism as Gens uses (although Genecyst sucks at actually emulating the machine). And for the record, I once did complete Sonic The Hedgehog the traditional way. I can't believe it's been ten years...