SB Recommends Master System Games
Almost completely ignored in North America, Sega's 8-bit console enjoyed a fair amount of popularity in Europe, and possibly still reigns as Brazil's most popular console ever. Most NES games are not on the Master System, and vice versa. Most Master System games are either first party, or ports of European computer games.
The library's pretty thin, but the stand-outs are all highly recommended, and there are some curious responses to NES games.
Fantasy Zone (also on: Arcade, GG, MSX, NES, PC, PS2, Saturn, TG16, X68, Wii VC)
field balm: In my mind, this game is perhaps the birth of the Sega Aesthetic. I wish Opa-Opa
(a sentient spaceship with wings) had taken off as the face of Sega. The graphics are adorable.
The game is a hori shoot ‘em up
, but not a traditional one. Levels can scroll left or right, and you can change direction at any time. The levels are finite in size, and loop seamlessly at the edges. Once you destroy all the enemies on a stage, you have to defeat the boss before you go to the next one. There’s an awesome bosh rush at the end too!
shnozlak: Fantasy Zone
is confusing pure joy. Opa opa
literally being the ship and the hero sort of blew a friend's mind when we played it. I enjoyed a version of this on PS2
before owning it here so as a game its no major revelation. However I love playing it on actual hardware with the genesis arcade power stick
. The pastel pink and teal glowing gorgeousness rolls by with organic rubber bandy acceleration like its on a hand cranked paper scroll. The sunny music will make your head bob.
Golden Axe Warrior
field balm: Golden Axe Warrior
is one of the best RPG
s on the system (I’ll be honest, I haven’t played Phantasy Star
). It’s pretty much a rip off of the first Zelda
game, with multiple dungeons to go through in order, but it improves on most of the elements. It has proper towns, and way more items, including usable ones like a canoe and hot air balloon. You can use different weapons, from swords to axes, with different uses for each. The graphics are really good, and the controls are tight. Well worth playing if you like classic action-RPGs.
diplo: Yeah, I find Golden Axe Warrior much more palatable than the first Zelda. Plus, you can chop foliage down to reveal staircases. It still has some nonsense, though, like rewinding your progress if you exit a screen on the overworld from the “wrong” direction.
Loki Laufeyson: Sega had to make their own Ninja Gaiden
game, and the did it well. Looks really nice, and plays in a fast and fluid manner. Has the added bonus of being one of the few NG
games that actually is a side story.
Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (also on: Amiga, Apple II, Atari, Atari ST, C64, FM Towns, MSX, NES, PC, PC-88/98)
Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap / Turma da Mônica em o Resgate (Bra)
(also on: GG, PCE, Wii VC) - forum thread
Loki Laufeyson: Commonly said to be the best Master System game of all, a title it lives up to. It's a great 8-bit semi-metrovania
. Being a Wonderboy
game, it probably has at least three other names it's known by.
haze: Whenever people fondly remember Zelda II
or Castlevania II
, I recommend to them to play Wonder Boy III
. It feels like a more polished version of what those games were attempting to do, while also shorter and more concise. None of the excess weight.
username: I picked up the Sega Ages Wonderboy collection on a whim a few years ago and while I wasn't in love with the earlier games, Monster's Trap
was pretty excellent. Very odd series progression where you go from a standard platformer to a basic adventure game to a weird scrolling shooter to a very charming Metrovania
but hey, it worked.
As odd as it sounds, I ended up playing through the included Game Gear
version over the SMS
version as for whatever reason it felt just a bit tighter and a bit more intimate due to the reduced viewing area (the town is a few blocks shorter because of this and I think it helps).
's answer to Nintendo
. It may be less atmospheric, but it's still a game worth trying.