SB Recommends Mega Drive / Genesis Games

megadrive_bag.jpgSega's 16-bit console, home to a good range of action games, most of them being arcade ports. And of course that sound chip. It also had lots and lots of hardware variations and add-ons, such as the Mega-CD, 32x, Wondermega, and so on.

  • Alien Soldier (also on: PS2, Wii VC)
    • Let's Go
    • spectralsound: Alien Soldier's music doesn't get nearly enough credit. I personally think it's one of the Genesis' (and Treasure's) best soundtracks. the actual game itself probably wins the all-time award for Most Ludicrous Boss Rush in Videogames, and that's exactly why it's so awesome.
    • misadventurous: ALIEN SOLDIER is like GUNSTAR HEROES's ripped-as-fuck older brother who is not gonna take any of your shit. I agree with DAIS that playing around on the control screen to get a feel for it is best but disagree that you shouldn't immediately go play the actual game, enjoy it for all of ten minutes (tops), and die in a fireball, like I always seem to do. It is Pure Game; it gives you a set of things you can do and requires you to learn how to do ALL of them if you want to succeed. (“SUPEREASY” mode is not super easy, by the way, except compared to “SUPERHARD”)
    • Loki Laufeyson: seems like it was made to be the most mega drive game of all, on every level, in every way.
  • ACME Allstars
    • Mr Brooks: an MD title I must always have some kind of access to.
  • Alisia Dragoon
    • Rudie: If only for the things that aren't gameplay.
    • Schwere Viper: It's a Game Arts platformer in association with GAINAX. You play as a leggy sorceress with the power to annihilate foes in hordes thanks to her plentiful streams of lightning, as well as four different familiars with various attacks. Stages start off pretty normal with a linear romp through a forest full of beasties and an old temple with some fairly sneaky secret paths, but quickly become more interesting with a trek through a multi-layered canyon filled with old pathways and secret items, and even an assault on an flying airship. Then, once it crashes (thanks to you) you make your way through the wreckage in an interesting stage filled with odd angles and nasty surprises. I'm so glad I happened across an actual copy of this game before my nearest cool game store closed down. It's really worth a look!
    • kiken: Alisia Dragoon is a fantastic platforming run-n-gun with magic and dragons. It's like GameArts took Tyris Flare from Golden Axe and then reworked her into a Contra spin-off.
  • Batman
  • Batman and Robin, The Adventures of
    • RT-55J: man it has severe pacing and content issues (it can seriously drag on). But when it's firing on all cylinders it's clear that it's just barely shy of being one of the all-time platform-shooting greats up their with Gunstar Heroes and Contra Hard Corps. The core mechanics are rock solid, and bosses and soundtrack are impressive by any standard.
  • Battlemania 2
    • Dessgeega: a must-pirate.
    • spectralsound: if i was in the 90s again this is what i would picture a Treasure shooter to be like, before finding out it would just be all browns and greys and Serious Themes. gleefully anarchistic, and bonus points for both having two badass girls for main characters and having a damned amazing soundtrack.
  • Beyond Oasis
    • shnozlak: I cannot over emphasize how brisk streamlined and fun Beyond Oasis is.
  • Brave Battle Saga
  • Castlevania: Bloodlines
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Best in the series, will rock your socks off from start to finish. Use John Morris and pretend you're playing Umihara Kawase.
    • Rudie: Fuck Dracula's second form though. I dropped the game like a bad date there.
    • misadventurous: CASTLEVANIA: BLOODLINES is the system's resident CV and one hell of a meaty, bloody, tough-as-nails good time. Probably my favorite pre-Symphony Castlevania.
    • diplo: A momentous game with a solid grasp of how to challenge players, but it's lost the sense of place that its recent ancestors, like Rondo of Blood and Super Castlevania 4, have. Stages feel like gauntlet-bricolages rather than (mostly) narrative flowing units. The final stage is just a bummer with a couple of thematically unexplainable rooms and a horribly uninteresting boss rush; there's not much reason to go through with it if you've gotten to that point, except for the satisfaction that official closure brings. Excellent soundtrack loved by everyone who's heard it. It's also the first Castlevania game to let you choose between two characters from the start.
    • Felonious Monk: The expansiveness of later Castlevania's mixed with the precision and butter-smooth gameplay of Dracula X.
    • Renfrew: A glimpse down a divergent path the series should have gone down. It's Castlevania fully and whole heartedly embracing all the interesting aspects of Castlevania from the zaney gloopy neon horror to the chug chug chug of the action. Best Water Level Of All Time?
  • Columns
    • Ronnoc: Tetris-tier puzzle game that didn't spawn a huge franchise for some reason. (There may be some argument for #2 over #1, but I will veto #3 just for not having a single player mode)
  • Contra: Hard Corps
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Not a Treasure game, but might as well be one.
    • Felonious Monk: The best Contra? Lightning-fast and balls-hard.
    • Ronk: My favorite side-scrolling co-op shooter of all time has satisfyingly challenging stages, fun bosses, kickin' Mega Drive metal music and a werewolf cop wearing jeans and wayfarers. If it's not the best Contra, it certainly belongs near the top.
  • Cool Spot (also on: Amiga, GB, GG, PC, SMS, SNES)
    • BenoitRen: Decent platformer with a character that can shoot in all directions. Yes, even up!
    • Eudaimon: some of the stages (thinking of the pier level here) really irked me. The bonus stages were pretty cool, though.
    • Shnozlak: Has Blue skies, Corporate mascot, Cool to the max, collect U N C O L A for a continue, NOT ENOUGH COOL POINTS, Great music
  • Comix Zone (also on: 360, GBA, PC, PS3, PSN, Wii VC, XBLA)
    • Rudie: I still like this stylistic beat-em up.
    • dementia: Creative beat'em up with grungy tunes, good challenge, and lovely 90s comic aesthetic.
  • Decap Attack / Magical Hat Flying Turbo Adventure (JP)
    • JamesE: Awesome cartoony fun with neat dynamic action feel. It's a solid traditional platformer.
  • Dynamite Headdy (also on: 360, GG, PS2, PS3, Wii VC)
    • Lick Meth: Back when Treasure had to make a name for themselves they released this vivid platformer with a great sense of visual humour, a great soundtrack (and memorable sound effects such as the 'Target!' shout) and the crux of the gameplay dynamic, the switchable head function. It's really quite hard, much more so than the earlier Gunstar Heroes which didn't punish as badly for continuing. It's mostly a platformer, with scrolly shooty levels appearing from time to time, and a great running theme in the stageshow presence in the background and between levels (and occasionally falling onto the player). Standout tracks include the exciting bonus game music, and an interpretation of the March part of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.
    • Bacon&Onions: You have two versions of this to choose from- patch translated original JP version or as I grew up with the hard as nails Western version which replaces the dolls with robots, throws out the dialog cutscenes, starts you off with 0 continues instead of 3, makes continues HARDER to earn, and doubles the HP of every boss. After completely mastering the Western version I find the JP version too easy and the dialog detracts from the story I had in my head based on the visual cutscenes.
    • ?: Dynamite Headdy is the best game on the sega genesis, overlooked by many who were burned out by the difficulty. The main attack mechanic is your head which functions as is a sort of bungee corded grapple hook. Every level of this action oriented platformer masterpiece is jam packed with secrets and some of the most creative level and boss designs treasure has ever done.
    • Rita: because it's kind of weird and interesting and YOU'VE GOT A SECRET BONUS POINT. Japanese version is best, though.
  • Ecco The Dolphin (also on: 360, 3DS, iOS, PC, PS3, Wii VC, XBLA)
    • Rudie: Music that haunts me to this day. Oppressive, cold and dark. Like the sea.
    • CubaLibre: In this game you are always dying.
    • costel: FUCK MY MIND. OH GOD. I'M RUNNING OUT OF AIR. Sheer panic when playing this game.
  • El Viento
    • Rudie: Sort of brutally unfair platformer. But like Alisia Dragoon worth it for everything else.
  • Eliminate Down
  • Flashback (also on: 3DO; Amiga; Archimedes; CDi; FM Towns; Jag; Mac; Mega-CD; PC; PC-98; SNES)
    • kerobaros: Flashback was a great game, regardless of the system. (Except for the SNES version.)
  • Gain Ground
    • Renfrew: It's old and musty, but it's an incredibly fun and involving action strategy game. The thinking man's Gauntlet. One of the best co-op experiences I've ever had.
  • General Chaos
    • CubaLibre: extremely fun class-based action/RTS hybrid before any of those descriptors were in common use. Lots of different game modes and totally boss for co-op.
    • thestage: it's like a game from a pc genre that doesn't exist that somehow ended up on a console. it's kind of like commandos if commandos were more action based, featured proto-TF2 aesthetics, and was confined to one screen per level. and multiplayer. you get a squad of five soldiers distributed between a handful of classes (gunner, grenade dude, rocket launcher dude, flamethrower dude, dynamite dude), you select dudes, move the cursor around, tell them where to go, whether or not they should shoot, etc. if you run into another soldier you get into some white-hot NHL 94 style brawls. you can call medics. it's great. oh yeah you can even forgot the five dude team for a team of two guys that you control directly, switching between them with like the B button or something. I've never really seen anything like it. maybe you could call it a real time version of frozen synapse with smaller levels
  • Gleylancer (also on: Wii VC)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Stick to it and believe in your power. Make sure to crank up the difficulty.
  • Grandslam / Jennifer Capriati Tennis (NA)
    • Chris B: Seriously, this thing is ace and a must have for anyone remotely interested in tennis games. It feels like an unofficial sequel to the legendary Final Match Tennis, which says it all really.
  • Grind Stormer
    • Loki Laufeyson: Fairly late Toaplan shooter, that kind of bridges a gap between the tradition Toaplan games and the bullet hell games they'd go on to create.
  • Gunstar Heroes (also on: PS2)
    • DESTROY THEM ALL
    • Schwere Viper: An addictive run 'n' gun with incredible freedom of movement and a simple, but fair weapon power-up system. While certainly not as technically impressive and bombastic as Alien Soldier, I give the point to GSH because it's far more approachable and satisfying off the bat.
    • RT-55J: a shooter where, in spite of having roughly 16 really good weapons, the most satisfying means of attack is throwing your partner at enemies.
  • Heavy Nova
    • Rudie: I will continue to hold irrational love for this game. Maybe it's the anime intro. Maybe it's the giant robots. Maybe it's the romantic wall-less stages. Let your giant death machines skate together against the stars.
  • Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road (Also on: Arcade, Amiga, Amstrad, Atari ST, C64, DOS, Game Boy, Game Gear, Lynx, Master System, NES, SNES, ZX Spectrum)
    • YoutImaginaryFriend: Super Offroad is actually one of my favorite multiplayer games. Me and my little brother spent a lot of time playing that game together (along with TMNT Arcade and Super Contra) and we got hours of entertainment out of it. I love the way it feels, and it's the only racer of its type that I've enjoyed playing.
  • Kid Chameleon
    • schroeder: The most nightmarish platformer. Unmarked level exits, level types recurring with no obvious logic, skulls yelling, “DIE!” from out of nowhere. Control is consistently sloppy, like that dream where you're being chased and your legs just don't move right, and sounds never quite fit. You jump on giant severed heads until their eyes pop out.
    • kiken: I know people have a soft spot for this game but it looks, sounds and plays so damn sub-par… like a pauper's Magician Lord (Please sir.. may I have some more 16-bit graphics?)…. with skateboarding.
    • Loki Laufeyson: It's super mario bros 3 reimagined by 12 year old boys. or alternatively, it is to smb3 as mortal kombat is to street fighter 2
  • King Colossus
  • Landstalker (also on: Wii VC)
    • Rudie: Your isometric Zelda game with great towns and great dungeons and great music. I did say it was isometric though.
  • Light Crusader (also on: Wii VC, PC)
    • Loki Laufeyson: Treasure made an isometric action game that looks like an Commodore Amiga game. It's short and slightly bizarre. Has the usual isometric frustrations, though.
    • Dark Age Iron Savior: Light Crusader is very valuable as:
      1. Treasure interpreting Ultima Underworld through the lens of isometric puzzle action games as they were interpreted by Japanese designers.
      2. Game where you can push people.
      3. Game where the magic system is crazy and doesn't care if it works (like pretty much everything else in the game).
      4. Genesis game made in 1995 that is as aggressively nonsensical as an NES game made in 1987.
  • Marvel Land
    • notbov: Marvel Land is significantly different from the arcade version in that it isn't god awful
  • M.U.S.H.A.
    • Felonious Monk: The apotheosis of Compile's 16 bit shooters. Gorgeous graphics and a nifty setting (mecha in medieval Japan). Also, like most Compile STG's, once you get past the first level, you can generally cruise and enjoy the eye candy. One of the only games i've completed on a single credit.
  • McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure
    • Bacon&Onions: If this were not a mcdonald's branded video game it would be regarded as it should be, one of the GREATEST WEIRD games of the 16 bit era. As the story goes our creepy anti-hero Ronald finds a torn piece of a treasure map and proceeds to track down and beat down anything in his path to collect the entire map. Greed and smart investment is a heavy theme in the game, as you must give chunks of your hit point GEMS to allies and bosses in order to make progress in your quest for treasure. Completed boss cutscenes depict them laying crying and humiliated look as Ronald beams. The music, boss and level design is fantastic, and if you can embrace taking on the role as Ronald Mcdonald in a Treasure game you'll have a hell of a time. Dynamite headdy is a spiritual successor to the grapple hook mechanic of this game. Of particular note is the unforgettable Train stage. I won't spoil it but the tunnel scene and boss fight are equally brilliant.
  • Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
    • Tuxedo: You can sacrifice half your health to make some dogs dance to Smooth Criminal w/ Genesis synth, and I have found no such joy in any other Genesis game.
    • Tuxedo: I legit like Moonwalker.
      As a kid my cousin had this, Sonic, and a ton of other games and I basically played Moonwalker as much as every other game combined.
      I can't say I like the arcade version as much, it's more polished but there are way less dumb neat little touches, and isometric action w/ 8 direction movement/attacking cannot be anything but awkward. Charge attacks matter, and charge attacks are no fun.
    • kiken: SEGA could have ported the arcade game respectably to the MD/Genesis… yeah, it would have been toned down aurally and visually, but I think the heart of the game could have been preserved. Plus, the arcade game supports multiple simultaneous players.
      My opinion of the home port of MJ's Moonwalker has and always will be: disappointing.
  • Mickey Mouse - Castle of Illusion
    • Rudie: Whimsy!
  • Midnight Resistance
    • Booter: Awesome Contra rip-off, arcade port.
  • Monster World IV (also on: PSN, Wii VC, XBLA)
    • spectralsound: the most gorgeous sprite work on the Genesis. the rest is a bit hit-or-miss. i personally think it's grand.
    • misadventurous: MONSTER WORLD IV is a breezy, streamlined action-RPG-platformer (think Zelda 2) which looks and sounds and feels gorgeous.
    • kiken: Side-scrolling action RPG awesomeness! Fantastic design, great use of the MD colour palette and fantastic music (the Ice Pyramid theme is GAWTLIEK).
  • NBA Jam: Tournament Edition
    • username: Sure it could as easily be the SNES port, whatever. This is a wonderful arcade game to play with friends, seeing if you can push Dikembe Mutumbo to a quintuple double and watching your opponent (or yourself) start to lose it when one of you catches fire and things get completely out of hand.
  • NHLPA Hockey '93
    • username: Everyone considers '94 to be the best Genesis edition, mainly due to the actual gameplay part being the best. I say 93 is close enough in that regard, introduced (I believe) injuries to the experience, had the fighting that was cut from 94, and has rare injuries that result from fighting. For solo play that might not be enough but against friends fighting and injuring was a highlight I can't do without.
  • Phantasy Star II / Phantasy Star II: The End of the Lost Age (JP) (also on: 360, GBA, iOS, PS2, PS3, PSP, JP Saturn, Wii VC, XBLA)
    • Mr. Toups: part 2 is really amazing once you get past how clunky it is. The music and artwork are fantastic and it's got some of the most interesting dungeons of any RPG that I've played.
    • diplo: An absolute nightmare. There's not much special about PS2's dungeons, except that viewing the totality of a given one on a site like VGMaps might make you legitimately angry. PS2 has random enemy encounters, so the layouts don't need to account for dynamic enemy positioning. Therefore, dungeons must rely on creative geometry to generate interest. However, there's often a fierce dedication to symmetry/inverse mirroring (either in an individual floor plan or floors' plans in relation to one another), greatly lessening the possibility for surprises. Layering, overlapping, or revelatory interconnectivity in paths are pretty much nonexistent. Tension comes either from sheer dungeon size or the worry of reaching a dead end. Getting to a dead end means having to backtrack and risk more (drab) random fights. This is a kind of tension that is boring, purely attritional, and easily made. Compositionally, one of the worst Genesis soundtracks I've ever heard: it makes me feel like the death of music is happening in real-time. Thankfully, the composer, Tokuhiko Uwabo, stopped making music a few years after the release of PS2.
  • Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium (also on: 360, GBA, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii VC)
    • JamesE: The only game in the series that stands up as being legitimately worthwhile without rose tints and childhood attachments - the music's great if you can dig dirty synth sounds (and I'm a total synth freak), your party moves at a snappy, quick pace and there's a neat system by which you can use macros in battle and execute special joint attacks. The whole thing moves with a really quick pace once you beat the first Dungeon and it'll probably feel like an awesome doujin game if you squint.
    • schroeder: It's still a grinding-mandatory '90s JRPG, but the feel and aesthetic (especially the comic-panel cut scenes, which absolutely should still be used) are of a really fun two-season anime. The characters and locations are charming and the battle system is deep enough that the answer isn't always more leveling.
  • Pirates! Gold
    • username: I remember my friend renting this game from the local video store one day and bringing it over. I don't know what it is but sailing around the Caribbean, slowly gathering a large force to rain havoc upon spanish colonies in search of treasure, gather treasure maps that could lead to finding your lost family, deciding whether to split the booty now or press on and risk a mutiny, watching your guy age and deciding whether it is better to retire with your dignity intact or press you luck and rapidly deteriorating skills for one more tour round the islands… I'm sorry, I think that was a sentence when I started. Whatever it is, I loved it and haven't found another game since that has scratched that particular itch quite as well.
  • Pulseman (also on: Wii VC)
    • spinach: sonic and megaman had a baby. it was a pokemon. it is glorious.
    • spectralsound: Dear Nintendo, please let Game Freak make more games like this and Drill Dozer and less Pokemon games. Love, spectralsound
  • Quackshot starring Donald Duck
    • Rudie: An excellent game for a small child or anyone that likes good platformers.
    • Loki Laufeyson: Has really nice music, and goes from very easy in the opening stages, to incredibly hard in the last stage or two. It's also sort of semi-linear!
    • schroeder: it just keeps failing to be Ducktales.
    • Loki Laufeyson: quackshot is way better than ducktales
    • notbov: Quackshot is a high tier Disney game, never mind in the Gen/MD's library. the Sega/Disney trio are generally high quality titles.
  • Ragnacenty (JP) / Crusader of Centy (NA) / Soliel (PAL)
    • Isfet: kind of a Zelda clone, but it has some pretty interesting things going on all by itself to justify its existence.
    • Loki Laufeyson: has a reputation as being a zelda clone, but other than them both being action rpgs, there's not much similarity. it has a really unique plot, too!
    • Rudie: 15 years after it's release it's more cute than anything. The cloud effects are pretty impressive for the Genesis!
  • Ranger X / Ex-Ranza (JP)
    • Touran: Only play this one if you have a six button pad or some equivalent. But get it at whatever cost. You can't finish it on the “hard” difficulty as far as I know though, so stick to normal.
    • Duckzero: One of the best mech games of any generation.
    • tacotaskforce: If reality was a VHS tape that had nearly been recorded in full, and we needed to start taping over old things in order to continue existence, Ranger X would be the only thing that would convince me that the Genesis shouldn't be recorded over.
  • Red Zone
    • Remember: You only have 24 hours! So have a nice day…
  • Revenge of Shinobi
    • dementia: I remember someone retroactively describing it as Genesis' Super Mario World. It's a total statement game that played to the system's strengths in that sense.
  • Ristar (also on: 360, GG, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii VC, XBLA)
    • The Blueberry Hill: Ace platformer with some really lush graphics.
    • Rita: parallel dimension Sonic with stretchy arms and flying through space from planet to planet between stages!
  • Road Rash
    • scratchmonkey: Horribly broken, in the sense that all you need to do is grind to get the best bike (it really only takes about 30-40 minutes to do so) and then it's all about learning the courses and not crashing — it's still great fun to bash the other riders with assorted weaponry and having the other races have names and faces goes a long way toward making the racing have some meaning to it. One of those series where the first game gets it so right than all the sequels are inevitably disappointments.
  • Rocket Knight Adventures
    • Your rocket opossum needs to save a princess.
    • misadventurous: It's a better platformer than any of the Sonic games. Yeah, I said it, what are you gonna do. Consistently entertaining and inventive, it's just as much a blast to play through the first time as it is the twenty-first.
    • Schwere Viper: A charming, memorable and challenging platformer. Filled with character, gameplay that rewards precision and timing, and keeps to the “show, don't tell” school of storytelling. A joy to play through, even today.
  • Rolling Thunder 3
    • Lasakon: Rolling Thunder 3 is Rolling Thunder with a weapon load out featuring a bunch of useless weapons, better level design, dumb vehicle segments and great music.
  • Shadow Dancer (also on: Arcade, PC, PS2, PSP, Wii VC)
    • Loki Laufeyson: far superior on the mega drive than it is in the arcade. really, the arcade version is just awful, but the mega drive one is great.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: I prefer the arcade version, but that's just me. The “layering” of the stages is better visually defined between the two planes of movement, preventing moments of confusion that lead to cheap deaths (though there are still plenty of those). Additionally, stage layouts are often more deliberately paced, with every aspect of them meticulously fine-tuned. Note that the two versions have completely different stages and should be considered two different games.
  • Shadowrun
    • kerobaros: pretty badass, if you like the universe.
    • jiji: It's a nonlinear, freeform affair that lets you take quests and go anywhere and build your character as you see fit. It uses a top-down perspective, and is pretty difficult. It's also pretty good.
    • haircute: I love Shadowrun on the Genesis. Everyone says the SNES one was better but…I just don't see it. The matrix was more fun to screw around with on the Genesis and…I thought the music was better.
    • starblood: It is among the best sandbox games you can buy.
    • Tulpa: For the longest time people just talked about the SNES game and I felt so alone in thinking genny was far superior a game.
    • Swimmy: Genesis Shadowrun is proto-Deus Ex. (More progressive in some ways, even!)
  • Shining Force
    • Texican Rude: I really enjoyed Shining Force I because it was sort of SRPG lite. The worst part of any SRPG for me is all the meta-gaming you have to do. Delay the battle to level up your guys more (particularly your healer.) Balance a dozen character's equipment. SF1 is simple enough that I could handle the equipment stuff between missions. I also loved that it gets progressively more ridiculous in what you're doing. The world goes from whatever-fantasy to anything goes you get a super fast wolfman to help you with the stage involving a super laser. You get a baby dragon that could be super powerful, but takes a whole lot of work to make him that way.
      I can understand why SRPG fans might hate it, but as someone that would like to enjoy the genre but hates all the between mission stuff, I like it a lot.
  • Shining Force II
    • schroeder: Tactical RPG that looks like a Rankin & Bass cartoon, part of a series now rendered generic animu bullshit.
    • Tuxedo: it is like the first game (shallow, generic) but with more bloat. You cannot even form any real smart strategy in these games because you never know who's going to act next.
  • Shining in the Darkness
    • scratchmonkey: It's a super-basic RPG, yeah, and pretty generic in terms of art and setting and all. That said, I think it works pretty well as a “Starter” RPG. Even with the generic fantasy setting, it's got some personality and the basicness of it means that it's not very daunting to get into and get through.
  • Shinobi III / The Super Shinobi II (JP) (also on: 360, 3DS, iOS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii VC)
    • kerobaros: when I went over to my Sega friend's house, I always had a good time with Shinobi 3. Rather pretty game, and I think it's decently common too!
  • Sonic The Hedgehog (also on: 360, 3DS, DC, DS, Gamecube, GBA, iOS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSN, PSP, Saturn, Wii VC, XBLA, Xbox)
    • Take It Sleazy: Aggressively stylish with beautiful graphics, modern pop music, a crazy physics engine, and wild, giant levels that despite their alien architecture feel perfectly natural and lived in. So good that it should be wiped from history to prevent the mental destruction of a generation of men and women.
    • winkerwatson: Sonic 1 is probably more interesting in terms of design, (momentum etc) but I really like the spin dash and despite the game being made without it in mind I just really wanted to play the Sonic Jam version :(
    • Broco: Sonic 1 is my favorite Sonic as well. It varies up the pacing more instead of aiming for nonstop speed, and it has a nice difficulty curve where you pick up lives in the earlier levels and lose them in the later ones. It's the only Sonic where I get more engaged as I get further in the game rather than less so.
    • Schwere Viper: The one and only. Certainly slower than its successors, but has the best level design of the lot. Each zone has its own “personality,” challenging Sonic in a different way. It has enough variety to keep things fresh, and doesn't outstay its welcome at just under an hour long (for a relaxed session). Love or hate the 'hog, this is one of the most solid platformers on the system.
    • BenoitRen: I think Sonic the Hedgehog has aged pretty well, because it relies more on platforming and momentum than going fast. Then Sonic the Hedgehog 2 added the spin dash and momentum-based platforming was largely thrown out through the window. […] The original game's zones have more personality to them than Sonic 2's. Sonic 2 just picks a theme and calls it a day, not really bothering with attractive art design. Hill Top is especially boring.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (also on: 360, DC, DS, Gamecube, GBA, iOS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSN, PSP, Saturn, Wii VC, Xbox, XBLA)
    • Rudie: A terrific co-op game for someone who isn't that good at video games and someone that is. It's my favorite Sonic for that reason.
    • winkerwatson: I think select button maybe hates Sonic 2 now and I would say that it's something of a curate's egg. Metropolis Zone derails the games pacing entirely I feel. And Casino Night and Hilltop are two ideas that were far better executed in Sonic 3. But levels like Chemical Plant, Mystic Cave (best bottomless pit in the whole franchise) and Oil Ocean are all great in terms of music, unique level features and whatnot. From Sky Chase Zone on its a great precursor to the narrative of 3 and Knuckles.
    • Ronk: While the 3rd Game (with Knuckles) has more characters, more interesting levels and generally more going on, the second one is more aesthetically pleasing and easier to pick up and play anytime and goshdangit does it have the best soundtrack, seriously Sonic 2's soundtrack is the best on the Mega Drive, if not one of the best of all time and i'll fight everyone on this
    • seven: sonic 2 has a compelling difficulty curve that's clearly designed to create an emotional arc and the sense that you're going on a journey (see: the break it provides in the form of casino night zone and hilltop zone), instead of boring arcade-style difficulty. sonic 1 has fucking labyrinth zone.
      sonic 2 makes the best use of a limited-lives system i've seen: game overs are an opportunity to learn new paths through old stages, grab extra lives and develop mastery, completing stages in under a minute to get continues. sonic 1's “replayability” is that it mocks you if you win without completing all the extra stages.
      the Sonic 2 Experience is with friends at a party cheering you on as you invade a fortress in the sky and burn the stockpile of lives you've built up over the course of hours on a nail-biting final boss fight, everyone cheering as you just barely pull through. the Sonic 1 Experience is dying repeatedly at Marble Zone.
      the key difference between them is that sonic 2 seems to care about the player having a good time.
    • misadventurous: Counterpoint: Metropolis Zone is a travesty.
    • Renfrew: My problems with Sonic 2 are that the special stages are kind of terrible and the game feels way too long. By the time I get to Hill Top I'm ready to go do something else.
  • Sonic and Knuckles/Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (also on: 360, DC, DS, Gamecube, GBA, iOS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSN, PSP, Saturn, Wii VC, Xbox, XBLA)
    • Rudie: Really the only way to play these two games is the locked on catridges or a patched ROM. Has probably some of the smoothest level and wordless story progression in video games, and it came out in 1993/4. Having a second player as Tails isn't nearly as viable.
  • Splatterhouse 3
    • Lasakon: Splatterhouse 3 is one of the more interesting belt-scrollers from a structural standpoint with the use of large, open-ended levels and multiple endings based on draconian time limits.
  • Star Control
    • scratchmonkey: Yes, the first one. Just a goofily-fun deathmatch game with a real sense of momentum once one of the players got one of the ships that was really good/that they were really good at. There was nothing more demoralizing than when one player ran off a string of multiple victories with a “shitty” ship.
  • Story of Thor / Beyond Oasis (NA)
    • Shnozlak: Light weight RPG-ish adventure. Kind LOZ but with FAST ACTION and very little back tracking. Turn up the bass during the anime cut-scene and let that Yamaha FM synth sing.
  • Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition (also on: Wii VC)
    • kerobaros: with a six button controller, it's far better than any other port pre-Saturn.
  • Streets of Rage II (also on: 360, PC, PS3, PSN, Wii VC, XBLA)
    • Rudie: Yuzo Koshiro did the music, and it's a beat-em up that takes the fact it isn't connected to an arcade in mind.
    • handsomenattou: (Yuzo Koshiro at the very top of his game (i.e. Better soundtrack than any game that would come before or after), awesome grapple moves that make you feel like a god, perfect length. The best beat 'em up to come out of the golden age of beat 'em ups)
    • Loki Laufeyson: aesthetically, it perfects the urban-setting beat em up. as for the game itself it's pretty much peerless as far as beat em ups on home consoles go.
    • Renfrew: Not that interesting mechanically, but perhaps the most solid expression of the basic side scrolling beat 'em up. Pretty much my platonic ideal of what I want my media to look and sound like.
    • Talbain: […] the only Sega game I'll remember when I'm 80. Probably.
  • Streets of Rage 3 / Bare Knuckle III (JP)
    • jodeaux: At any point in this game you can pause it and there will be some sort of interesting/arresting image to greet you. The amount of visual interest and the color palette is intriguing on it's own, but that's not even taking into account the fact that it sports the best soundtrack to a video game ever made. I will fight you to death on that point. It's like some sort of brawler/acid trip filtered through the minds of Japanese nerds conceiving of what a 12 yr old boy's idea of wish fulfillment would be in the wasteland of post-reagan America.
    • zombieman000: SoR3 could join Biohazard Battle and Knuckles Chaotix in a list of Gen-family games where the soundtracks were so great that I liked them more than the games themselves
    • kirby.png: BK3 is just a big mess of New Things that were all really horrible and didn't work, excluding maybe the music.
  • Sub-Terrania
    • Family Computer: I love that game. It is so underappreciated.
    • Spinach: I love that game very much. I have never finished it, but it's one of the games I missed the most after Sega Channel went offline.
    • RT-55J: a game that is absolutely nervewracking in its constant and unyielding desire for your concentration.
    • Deets: Yes. Hell yes. I especially love how they stop giving you concrete mission objectives by the end, and just ask you to figure shit out based on the game logic you've been submerged in up to that point.
    • Shapermc: I've always had a soft spot for it in my heart, but never finished it so never felt like I could properly praise it.
  • Thunderforce IV
    • Loki Laufeyson: Tied with Alien Soldier for the title of “Best Mega Drive Game”, this game doesn't have a single flaw. Gameplay, graphics, and music are all incredible.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: I can think of one flaw: enemies don't flash when hit.
    • Schwere Viper: A killer horizontal shoot-'em-up and a rockin' thrash metal concert all at once.
  • Tinhead (also on: SNES (unreleased, but completed)
    • Ronnoc: As far as obscure Genesis games go, Tinhead is probably my favorite. Bright, colorful platforming with feels-good controls
  • Toejam and Earl (also on: PSN, Wii VC, XBLA)
    • Take It Sleazy: Still a singular game after all these years. An action roguelike with brilliant multiplayer mechanics that other roguelikes should be copying by now and this should be a genre good lord it's 20 years old come on you fucking nerds. It's also a rather clever inversion of the typical videogame cliche of a world filled with nothing but wandering monsters and treasures for the hero. A stellar soundtrack and a great sense of humor. Super ahead of it's time and the kind of SEGA-ness that made Nintendo just look sad and old.
    • misadventurous: TOEJAM AND EARL is the goofiest roguelike-like that you'll ever play. It's creative and silly and makes me smile.
      • An incredibly unique and entertaining roguelike-like with a bitchin' co-op mode. This one I almost feel obligated to include; there's nothing else really like it for any other system. Fortunately, it also rules.
  • Twinkle Tale
    • ?: It's like Commando, but with a little girl.
  • Valis III
    • Wasted Potential: Valis III is like a poor man's Castlevania III (which I have also never played, but I'm making that simile anyways), but with anime chicks who have swords and a hot transformation scene.
  • Vectorman (also on: 360, PC, PS2, PS3, PSN, PSP, Wii VC, XBLA)
    • Shnozlak: I'm still in love with this game assuming I can beat clockwork. I HATE clockwork, some times I JUST CAN'T get his rhythm. Great adventure of a game. Lots of blasting. Kill things with your foot boosters for cool points.
    • Renfrew: radically 90s late era 2d platforming run and gun. When I was a child playing my Genesis at my cousin's house maybe this game was the one that made me more jealous of his Genesis than even Sonic and Knuckles did.
  • Warsong / Langrisser (JP)
    • Talbain: If you like turn-based SRPGs, Warsong is a really unique take on the genre, given that it is not just commanders but commanders and units they command. Another really interesting design decision was to make all units disappear when the commanding unit disappears, allowing for some very strategic bosses and scenarios. Tons of unique units and progression paths, branching storyline with lots of different endings — lots to love.
  • Wings of Wor (NA) / Gynoug (JP/PAL)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: What would be yet another boring Genesis-exclusive shmup is saved by some awesomely grotesque, homoerotic sprite design from Cho Aniki's artist.
  • Wonder Boy in Monster World (PCE, PSN, Wii VC, XBLA)
  • World Cup Italia 90
    • Tuxedo: The Only Good Soccer Game. You can (and will) tackle everybody all the time with no consequences whatsoever. The entire game is balanced around it and it becomes a more ridiculous slidefest than Vanquish.
      • Loki Laufeyson: this is true.
  • World of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck
    • Loki Laufeyson: only get world of illusion if you have someone to play co-op, as the 1 player mode is about 15 minutes long. but the co-op is fucking awesome.
    • Lick Meth: It's not a difficult game by any means (it's very easy to get through without losing a life), but instead it's more about the dazzlingly lovely marriage of a nice soundtrack and glorious display of colourful surroundings. Your co-op abilities either work as piggybacking your partner up cliffs, letting down a rope for the other to get up, or Mickey pulling Donald's fat arse through small gaps. It's not without problems, but it's nice enough to stop worrying for a bit with. Also features different level designs for Mickey/Donald/Co-op, for some variety.
  • X-men 2: the Clone Wars
    • Renfrew: nails the aesthetic of early 90s X-men and everything it entails. The opening segments are one mind blowing idea after another. Turn on the game and it starts you in the first level with a random character! Unlock Magneto to team up with him because the threat is so great! I've never gotten particularly far in it, but I'm going to try again.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Stylishly presented Doom Clone, that, along with its unreleased sequel, is now public domain. Lives are represented by a team of player characters, with differeing abilities; the enemies are agressive; there is jumping!, and a flame-thrower. It may get repetitive after so-many levels, but highly recommended until that point.
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbours (also on: SNES)
    • vamos: Brilliant fun in co-op, excellent b-movie aesthetics.
  • Batman Returns
    • Shnozlak: Holy sprite scaling and rotation batman! this game LOOKS amazing.
  • Ecco The Dolphin
    • Rudie: It's Ecco the Dolphin, with even better music!
  • Ecco II: The Tides of Time
    • Ronnoc: game gets a lot of praise for it's aesthetic, but swimming is super fun and the puzzles are mostly not bullshit.
  • Final Fight CD
    • kiken: Still one of the best conversions of the coin-op classic. Retains everything that made the original great along with adding more frames of animation to all the lead characters and having T's Music deliver amazing arrangements of the soundtrack. It also features the kick-ass Time Attack mode.
  • Heart of the Alien
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Forgotten sequel to Another World where you play as the alien buddy from that game, and it even includes AW for good measure. I haven't played too far into it yet; it's definitely less subtle than AW, with a huge bombastic actiony intro, but the puzzle design definitely seems to be of the same caliber.
      • UPDATE: I have done my research on this thing and played it more, and it's “irredeemable shit.” Never mind.
  • Sewer Shark
    • CubaLibre: this game sucks but its aesthetic is unsurpassable.
  • Sonic CD
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Some extremely solid level design here, although the focus on exploring the stages rather than merely rushing through them is a bit of a buzz-kill in a Sonic game. There's a time-travel gimmick which allows you to visit four different versions of each stage, but it's mostly an excuse to have more pretty graphics and music. Ignore what everyone says, the US version's soundtrack is the best.
    • kiken: Yep, I'm one of those who feels that Sonic CD is the best 16-bit Sonic (I don't even mind Wacky Workbench). A huge sprawling game with a ton of extra unlockable content. Complicated stage layouts that contain numerous tricks and systems for aiding players in utilizing the time-travel component… and Metal Sonic. I'm in the JP/EU ost camp on this one (Toot! Toot! Sonic Warrior errryday).
  • Snatcher
    • Shnozlak: Burn the Disc. Play it with the Justifier.

The 32X was a bulbous mushroom intended as a life support device for the Megadrive. It requires two proprietary cables to hook up to a Model 1, and one cable and a plastic spacer for a Model 2. It sold less than half a million units and is generally hated by everyone today, usually only warranting mention for Chaotix. Many of the games for it were barely upgraded ports of Megadrive titles, or re-releases of Mega CD FMV games that used the extra hardware for better video quality. However, it remains my favorite unpopular console. There was a handful of highly experimental and interesting polygonal games, and arguably the best versions of some AM/2 arcade ports. There were scrapped plans to release it as a standalone console, the Neptune. - Sniper Honeyviper

  • Chaotix
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Freaky experimental Knuckles game where you and a partner bungee through a level with Delicious Physics. The stages themselves feel sprawling and unfinished, but at least you've got the most beautiful 2D backdrops in the series to stare at, as well as some really cool polygonal bonus stages. A real curiosity, with one of the best FM synth Sonic soundtracks.
  • Cosmic Carnage / Cyber Brawl (JP)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Overlooked Mortal Kombat-esque fightman game with some cool sprite scaling and wonderfully cheesy graphics that's good for dicking around in, but definitely not for “serious” play. Featuring the only fighting game character I'm aware of with an 8-way dash. The US version replaced the human characters with generic aliens to escape an M rating, but you can switch it to Cyber Brawl with a code.
  • Kolibri
    • Rudie: Still possibly the finest hummingbird based shooter for the Sega 32x.
  • Space Harrier (also on: 3DS, Amiga, C64, GBA, GG, PS2, SMS, SS, TG16, Wii VC)
    • Rudie: This is my favorite game, and this is my favorite version of my favorite game.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: I own the cart, and can definitely attest to it being Harrier's best port. It even lets you continue from Stage 7 after you get that far, if you just want to see the whole thing.
  • Stellar Assault (EU & JPN)/Shadow Squadron (US)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Holy shit, a 32X game that's really well designed? Stellar Assault is a very solid space flight sim, not unlike Wing Commander, that pushes the 32X to its limits while maintaining the smoothest of framerates. It's still thrilling to barrel roll past blocky solid-color battlecruisers in complete freedom of movement. There is a remake on the Saturn, but it's very expensive and apparently inferior.
  • Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 (NA) / Motherbase (PAL) / Parasquad (JP)
    • unlabored flawlessness: Zaxxon Motherbase 2000 is very underrated. It has a clever “jack your enemies' ships” mechanic, lots of stage variety, and some impressive polygonal bosses. There's also a multiplayer versus mode for added kicks. If it had been released on the Genesis, it would be considered a hidden gem.

See Also

1) still need to scrape it for comments
 
 sb/recommended/genesis.txt · Last modified: 2016/06/18 09:29 by the_blueberry_hill
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