When I decided to buy a clone system EVERYONE told me the same exact thing, “Buy a Retron 5!”  I mean the Retron 5 can play several different console games but the more I looked into it the more I notice some griping that didn’t sound good.  Hard to get cartridges out.  Pin connectors coming loose.  Horrible controllers.  I’ve read that some were playing their Pokemon games and their saved games just disappeared.  It’s not all bad – there are many who seem to love their Retron 5.  Something told me to continue my search so I did.

That’s when I discovered Retro-Bit’s Super Retro Trio.  It was a cheaper option that played NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis games.  It just looked amazing and reviews online (print and YouTube) seemed to really say that it was just a great little system.  So I decided to buy it.  There was only one problem.

I couldn’t find it anywhere.

It just wasn’t available.  Prices from third-party sellers were insane (some were asking $200 for a $60 system) and as I watched week after week the system never seemed to get back in stock.  I actually wrote to Retro-Bit and asked them what was going on.  It seemed that they had run out of stock.  They were producing more, they were coming soon, but they just didn’t have a date on when they would arrive back in stock.

Sadness.

It was my wife who actually came to the rescue.  She was always on the prowl for the Retro Trio for me when one day she looked at me and said, “Why don’t you get a RetroDuo?”  I looked at her and said, “A what?”  And then she showed me.

There was another quality system from Retro-Bit but the RetroDuo only played NES and SNES games.  No Genesis.  I had to make a decision.  Should I wait for the Retro Trio?  Should I try to get one of the two Genesis consoles I have working (that never happened…still can’t get that Genesis/32X/Sega CD working yet)?  Or should I purchase the RetroDuo and forgo the Genesis?  I do own an AtGames Genesis so worse comes to worse I can still play my Genesis games.

So I made the call.  I bought the RetroDuo.  I can honestly say that after it arriving and playing it for so long that it was an amazing decision.

The unit itself looks pretty slick in black and red.  There is an instant downside controller-wise when comparing to the RetroTrio.  The RetroTrio has controller ports for original NES, SNES, and Genesis controllers.  The RetroDuo does not offer controller ports for old NES and SNES controllers.  Instead the controllers you are given are actually third-party SNES controllers.  You are absolutely able to plug in your old SNES controllers and use them with the RetroDuo.  If you want an authentic experience using an old NES controller you are S.O.L. – unless there is some adapter out there I don’t know about.

NOW – is it a problem?  Is playing your NES games with a SNES controller that awful?  Absolutely not.  There is literally no need for the NES controller unless you REALLY like playing with that controller.  The controllers that come with the RetroDuo are pretty damn amazing.  They are lightweight yet very responsive.  I’ve played with the RetroDuo controller, switched out for a SNES controller, then switched right back to a RetroDuo controller.  Verdict?  You are great either way – there is no advantage to either controller.  Which do I usually play with?  I usually play with the RetroDuo controller even though I actually have multiple SNES controllers lying around.

As for games I have multiple games for both systems and I’ve seen nothing (thus far) that the RetroDuo won’t play.  All of my NES carts play including the 150-in-1 multicart I bought off Etsy.  It plays with no problems whatsoever.  SNES?  It plays every single game I plug into it.  I’m well aware that certain SNES games have certain chips inside and maybe one of those games won’t work on the RetroDuo.  The only one I own is Starfox which uses Super FX graphics acceleration coprocessor powered GSU-1.  I don’t even know what the hell all that crap means I just know that Starfox was pretty banging when it was first released back in 1993 thanks to the Super FX and, honestly, is still pretty banging today.  How does it play on the RetroDuo?  Just fine.  No problems whatsoever.

While the system is unable to play Famicom games it is able to run Super Famicom games with no problems whatsoever.  I don’t have a very large collection of Super Famicom games at all but the games that I do have (Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country 1-3, F-Zero, and Street Fighter II) played with no problems.  Honestly I was shocked how much of the Japanese games were in English.

The system itself is great – really lightweight but super durable.  It’s rugged.  You can easily get your games in and out of both controller slots without any damage (TAKE THAT RETRON 5!).  The system does not output in HDMI and uses the standard RCA red, white, yellow cord (or S-Video).  Am I truly heartbroken that my games aren’t in HD like the Retron 5?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  The games still look pretty damn great on the RetroDuo and these games are over thirty years old.

Downsides?  Well – as I stated – the system doesn’t play Genesis games.  You need the Super Retro Trio for that.  Kinda.  There is a Retro-Bit RetroGEN Adapter Genesis to SNES Cartridge Adapter (yes – that is a mouthful) that you can buy for twenty bucks.  This plugs not only into the RetroDuo but anywhere you can play an SNES.  So yes – that means even if you have an original SNES you can use this adapter to play Genesis games.   There appear to be some sound problems when using the adapter and you have to use A/V cables that run from the adapter to the TV while using the RetroDuo’s power.  Beyond that – it plays the Genesis games.

TWO WEEKS AFTER BUYING THE RETRO-DUO I got a message from Retro-Bit.  Guess what?  They had produced more Super Retro Trios and they were back in stock with retailers if I wanted to order.  That was very nice of them but by then it was already too late.  I have my RetroDuo and I am very happy about that.  Will I upgrade to a Super Retro Trio?  Maybe someday.  But for now I’m more than happy being able to play my Burgertime, Dig Dug, Mr. Do, Addams Family Values, Final Fantasy III, and Super Famicom F-Zero with my RetroDuo.  It’s an amazing little system and well worth the price.

RANK: A