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Radica Menacer to Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) modification

The reviews on this site are the text versions of the videos on my YouTube channel. The text based reviews use (if at all) very little pictures. Please follow the link to the corresponding video in order to see in game graphics.

The Sega Menacer light gun was made in 1992 for the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis. Personally I quit using it and built something myself. In this text I am going to explain what my motivation was and how I did it.

The player is supposed to use the binocular. The black pivoting bar on the gun is used as rectile in the sight picture. The slewability is necessary because of the human eye dominance which is something similar to handedness. Depending on the distance between the eyes of the player the sight picture may vary from decent to terrible. The tube distance can't be adjusted. The butt stock can be removed to improve the accessibility of the optics.

Luckily the gun itself has sights and thus can be used in a pistol configuration. This is how I used the gun. I even made a custom battery cover. If used Menacers are bought often the back battery lid is missing. This part is essential in order to use the gun with batteries, as it connects the two battery rows with a metal piece.

In my opinion powering the Menacer with batteries is a hassle because the outmost ring of the used springs is of a similar size as AAA plus pole nipples are. The spring can grab the battery at the nipple and cause it to stuck. The only way to resolve this is to screw the Menacer open. Sadly while the holes are very narrow the screw heads are in the size Philips 2. I ended up buying special thin screwdrivers to open the Menacer. After a while I drilled a hole into one of my Menacers to insert a DC power plug to power it externally.

The Sega Menacer is wireless. It communicates via infrared light with a receiver which is plugged into the console and placed on top of the television. Apart from the battery issue I felt the gun was not perfectly accurate and not very reliable.

Radica made a different Menacer in 2005. It was a plug and play console and included the game ''Menacer 6-game cartridge''. The gun itself feels really nice. The trigger is responsive and the button placement is great. The console can be powered via batteries which go into the front of the gun, or via the DC power plug at the bottom of the handle. The front compartment might also be used to house weights. The sight picture is very usable. I decided that I convert this console to a light gun controller for Mega Drive and Genesis. The green PCB in the handle is the console itself. It is a so called system on a chip. The game itself is located on the little PCB which is soldered onto the console PCB.

Here is the schematic on how I modified the gun. A Low-dropout regulator (LM1084-3.3) was necessary but apart from that the traces just have to be rerouted into a DE-9 connector. Finding the right pin combination was cumbersome though and took me 30+ hours.

Scheme of the Radica Menacer to Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) modification

Personally I am extremely happy with the gun. I feel the accuracy is greatly improved and the handling is better. I like that the gun doesn't need batteries anymore. Many people tried this modification before, but best to my knowledge they all gave up. I am really happy to share my findings and I hope that other people will build one for themselves too. Ethically I think there is no problem, as the Radica console isn't destroyed. One could solder a DE-9 socket to it using my wiring scheme and use it as a standalone device. One could even go a step further, remove the game PCB and solder a cartridge socket to the system in order to obtain a tiny light gun console.