The Retron 1 was the original Hyperkin clone console for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). I came across this system when searching for an inexpensive console for my nephews. I have heard about the Retron and have experience playing my friend’s Retron 5, but I was very curious how the Retron 1 stacks up. At around $20 I figured I would give this NES clone a shot.
System and Controller Design
The design of the Retron 1 is nice. I purchased the black and gray model and I will say it is pretty sleek. It is very small in size and is super light. Way lighter than an original NES.
The controllers that come with the system are light but function very well. I have used my fair share of bad D Pads and I was pleasantly surprised by the functionality of these controllers. They are not as good as the NES originals, but they function well and do not inhibit gameplay.
The console is compatible with the original NES controllers and connects to your television using composite cables. Everything that you need to hook the system up to your TV comes with the system. There is no need to purchase your own composites.
Game and Hardware Compatibility
I played many original NES games on the console. Zelda, Zelda 2, Metroid, Contra, and all of the Ninja Turtle games work on this device. This system does run into the typical compatibility issues other clone devices have with running games with expansion chips in them. Castlevania 3 was the most notable of these games that I had an issue with. There are about 20 titles that will not run on this system and you can check out the list below.
- Bandit Kings of Ancient China
- Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
- Cheetahmen II
- Challenge of the Dragon
- Crystal Mines
- Dirty Harry
- Jordan vs Bird: One on One
- Laser Invasion
- Mad Max
- Nobunaga’s Ambition II
- Pipe Dream
- Rad Racer II
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms II
- The Krion Conquest
- Uncharted Waters
- WWF King of the Ring
- WWF WrestleMania Challenge
It is said that other games, depending on the installed chip on that particular copy, may also have issues running. These variable games include: Dragon Warrior and Super Mario 2. My copy of Super Mario 2 did work, but some may not.
The NES Zapper is compatible with this system. You can slay some ducks or shoot some skeet in Duck Hunt.. or just get laughed at by that pesky dog. Just keep in mind that you have to have a CRT TV in order to utilize this technology. A standard LED TV will not work with the Zapper.
Speaking of CRT TVs and LED Tvs, I did successfully hook the Retron 1 up to both types of televisions and it works great on both.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics are exactly as I remember. The games look and feel great.
The sound however, is pretty damn bad. The games sound almost exactly the same as the originals, but something is off. The music tones are slightly skewed and the sound effects do not match their past incarnations. The sound chip installed on the console kinda sucks. For a nostalgic player like myself who has years of experience with the NES, this put a pretty big damper on the system. Fortunately I was purchasing the system for my nephews who are 6 and 4 years old, so they would have no clue about these subtle but devastating differences in sound. For them it worked just fine.
Overall I was pleased with the Retron 1 by Hyperkin. For around $20 the system is a decent purchase. It functions well, comes with two usable controllers and plays almost every single game I own. The only major issue is the sound. This alone would cause me to spend the extra money to purchase a NES, but if you are purchasing this system for a younger person without the past retro gaming experience the sound will not be an issue.
The final result of the purchase is what matters… and here it is…
And yes I set them up with one of the hardest NES games, Ninja Gaiden…. failure leads to success. Don’t judge me lol.