Dodd's famous last words: "Maybe [the 32X] isn't as bad as they say it is."
No, no... It is.
The main reason why the 32X sucked is because, as you said, Sega had already spread itself way too thin. They had the game market. All they had to do was coast until Saturn came along (and that's a rant for another day, as well.). No, instead they made you buy this whole other piece of hardware to slap onto your Genesis.
The reason why you didn't see more CD support for the 32X is because the install base is too thin. Kids who had all three components (and I'll form the head!) were rare. I don't believe Sega even supported the 32XCD format. Digital Pictures did, and those of us who remember that company remember them for their string of crap they laid out, one after another.
Seriously, with all of the kick-ass games I could remember on Sega CD, I tried to do the same with 32X. I really tried. The best games you're going to get on 32X are Virtua Fighter, Afterburner, and... I don't know... Tempo(?). If you want eye candy, you can get Kolibri, I suppose.
There's not a lot a lot to talk about. Knuckles Chaotix is horrible. They had an interesting idea for the bungie cord physics engine, but they never quite got it right. The game was super slow, because you had to take the time to plan how you were going to launch yourself with the cord. Most of the time, you'd just over shoot yourself. During portions of the game where you're just trying to run, the other character is always slowing you down.
Mortal Kombat II was pretty good, but yet again, the best Sega could muster with the 32X was to make an inviting console for arcade ports. I've read interviews which have stated that Mortal Kombat was already pushing the 32X to its limits. So much more for having an edge on Super Nintendo. Oh, and the sound on that game is total garbage.
Oh, and that's another thing. Whoever told you that the sound capabilities of the 32X anywhere close to a GBA is a liar. 32X barely had a sound upgrade. Mostly, it still relied on the Sega Genesis' terrible sound chip. It must have been embarrassing for kids who tried to impress their Super Nintendo friends to have this 32-bit juggernaut still producing the boops and beeps that his Nintendo friends had been teasing him about for years.
Stick to the Sega CD, Dodd. It'll make you smile more. And unlike the 32X, it's actually possible to assemble a fairly respectable gaming library.
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