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Side by Side: Exile (Genesis vs. TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM)

If it weren’t for about a thousand or more other games, Exile might be the most popular game ever made in the history of all mankind. And rightfully so, as it actually is an entertaining experience to play through; however this game exists on both the Sega Genesis (distributed in the U.S. by Renovation) and the TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM Entertainment Supersystem (distributed in the U.S. by Working Designs). Now, we’ve all seen fights break out at supermarkets over which version kicks the crap out of the other, and we’re here to settle this once and for all.

The Differences

Presentation: Both games are exactly the same in this matter, only different. The stories are slightly different, with the Turbo version focusing more on the evils of religion and the Genesis version focusing on, umm… I’m not quite sure but it has to do with warring factions. Yes, the Genesis version’s story is a bit incomprehensible, but that doesn’t mean the Turbo one is a piece of literary bliss. Both games have super dramatic cinema displays which grip you emotionally for the ride of your life and never let go, but the Turbo version obviously has a couple more, as well as a screen or two more per cinema. Voice acting accompanies the Turbo cinemas as you’d expect, and Rumi’s voice acting is beyond pathetic, but the voices do add a nice touch. The text is much easier to read in the Turbo version, and you could sit a mile away from your TV and still read it. The text in the Genesis cart is small and shaded, so you practically need to squint sometimes. This makes the Turbo rendition a little more comfortable. The Genesis has more dialogue and therefore more reading. One of these days I am going to learn how to read!

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Edge: TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM Entertainment Supersystem

Graphics: The graphics are amazingly similar throughout the entire game. Both run at the same resolution and frame rate; however the Turbo version generally tends to have fifteen to twenty more colors on the screen at any given time, although some of that extra color is dedicated to the menu bars at the bottom of the screen. The difference is far from mindblowing, but it’s definitely there. The second to the last town is full of naked girls sitting and dancing around in the Turbo version, and on the Genesis they are either clothed or removed altogether. Oddly, the chick you save from being sacrificed in the Genesis version has hair that is yellow and drab green whereas it is all green in the Turbo version (and she’s nekkid). I’m not sure why this is, but she really looks bad on the Genesis. Neither game has an advantage in scrolling, and there are a few extra touches here and there in the Turbo version if you look closely. One thing that might be a deal-breaker for some people is that the dung in a certain town doesn’t have animated flies circling it in the Genesis version. I know people like flies with their dung, so this could be the thing that catapults the Turbo CD to a triumphant victory.

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Edge: TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM Entertainment Supersystem

Sound/Music: Obviously the Turbo has CD tunes and the Genesis has to rely on its own sound chip for everything, but I honestly have a hard time choosing a clear cut winner here. Neither soundtrack is leaps and bounds above mediocre. I tend to like chip tunes, and the Genesis music sounds pretty cool. But the CD has cool dance-style tunes that I enjoy also. It’d be a more interesting comparison to me if there was a HuCard version of the music, but as it is I think most people will prefer the Turbo due to the CD quality. Me? I do prefer the Turbo, but only slightly and only because of a few select tunes. Although the music on the Genesis is by no means bad, the sound effects are a bit chunky and can get slightly annoying listening to the sword swing again and again as you level up. The Turbo sound effects are the typical (yes) soft PSG sounds that the Turbo tends to make. While far from realistic, they are a bit more comfortable on the ears for this game.

 Eseus Theme: Genesis (MP3, 765kb)  Elseus Theme: TG-16 CD (MP3, 880kb)

Boss Theme: Genesis (MP3, 806kb)  Boss Theme: TG-16 CD (MP3, 783kb)

Edge: TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM Entertainment Supersystem

Gameplay: Both games follow the same rules and structure. Neither version will win prizes for Best Control. It’s a bit stiff in both renditions, though the Genesis seems slightly more “floaty” during jumps. The Genesis has built in rapid fire which can come in handy, though to be fair every legitimate controller ever released in the U.S. for the TurboGrafx and/or Duo systems have turbo switches built in. If you are using a six-button controller on the Genesis, holding the MODE when you power up the game can help make the menus slightly less twitchy. I have tested this several times and it’s true, but no matter what you do, the menus will always be a bit twitchy on the Genesis. Also you can speed through the text at insane speeds on the Genesis.

There is an extra town in the Turbo version that consists of people burning on crosses that was removed for U.S. audiences playing the Genesis version.

Curiously, there is swearing on the Genesis and none in the Turbo version. If you like mild swearing, go straight to eBay and start bidding on the Genesis cartridge NOW!

Both games give you a huge boost in power when you hit level twelve and both max out at level seventeen. Regardless, some of the experience amounts for each level seem to have changed slightly. It’s not a big deal as both games are extremely easy. The Turbo version offers a bit more of a challenge and bosses definitely take more hits, but either game can be beaten in about two hours if you know what you are doing and maybe four or a little more if you are going through it for the first time. When you level up in the Turbo version, all of your HP is replenished to 100%. Not so on the Genesis version. The enemies can also be really cheap in the Sega game as they appear right in doorways as you come out of them and you can’t avoid getting hit. And during some jumps they keep knocking you down from mid air. Both games allow you to use magic, though it doesn’t seem very effective at all in the Genesis version as I can use up all of my magic and even the most basic enemy doesn’t die.

What’s interesting is that you can kill the final boss with magic alone in the Turbo version, it’s almost required! Also, they took away the “warp” magic from the Turbo version which allows you to warp to the beginning of the current level you are in so you may easily escape. I miss the warp spell. One last thing to mention, for some reason the Turbo CD demands that you select “MAP” from a menu before the map screen appears. This seems extremely unnecessary to me. It’s just a time-waster and it makes me sad. But overall the Turbo has the slight edge here.

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Edge: TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM Entertainment Supersystem

Other: When you first turn on the Genesis version, there is a nice SEGA logo that shines for you. For some reason this was cut out of the Turbo version. In fact I’ve never seen the Turbo do that ever. My guess is that the system is just not technically capable of displaying that screen. This automatically boosts the goodness of the Genesis version by quite a large margin. Who doesn’t enjoy looking at a nice Sega logo welcoming you to yet another fine gaming experience? But seriously, both games allow you to save to backup memory, but you likely won’t need it unless you’re not too familiar with the game or want to take a break. No lame passwords here. The Turbo version has a better translation (the Genesis was translated by one poor guy in Japan), but both are supposedly quite different in subject matter from the Japanese original. I find it odd that the most powerful medicine you can have is called “Heart Poison” in both versions. The Turbo version has a small bit of Working Designs humor added, but nothing offensive or controversial which would have the forums going crazy with anti-Vic Ireland posts. The Genesis version has less loading time. Blast Processing in action? Definitely.

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Edge: Draw

 

Final Assessment

The Turbo version wins, but certainly not by a landslide. The Genesis cart is still really fun and is often overlooked. It’s certainly not the king of action/RPGs. In fact there really isn’t much “RPG” about it. The other characters in the game who follow you around serve little purpose, especially Kindi who does absolutely nothing through the entire game. Fakhyle will give you his staff, which will do nothing for the entire game. However this game is worth having in your collection anyway. Get both versions, like me!

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