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.Sega MK III - Gashapon version

The library's pretty thin, but the stand-outs are all highly recommended, and there are some curious responses to NES games.

  • Alex Kidd in High Tech World
    • Loki Laufeyson: Although not actually very fun to play, worth having a look at for all the amusing and baffling ways to die in the first stage.
  • Alex Kid in Miracle World (also on: PSN, Wii VC, XBLA)
    • The Blueberry Hill: This is the only Alex Kid game I enjoy. It starts off like an arcade game, and just sort of expands.
    • field balm: Sega’s first shot at Mario. One of the most polished platformers on the system. You play as Alex, Prince of Radactian, trained in the ancient art of Shellcore (breaking blocks with your giant hand), on a journey to rescue your princess. A fairly standard linear-level platformer, it features a few interesting features like being able to buy motorbikes and helicopters for some levels, and playing janken against bosses.
  • Danan The Jungle Fighter
    • Loki Laufeyson: A decent, though incredibly short platform adventure with a SHOCKING PLOT TWIST about half way through.
  • 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 RPGs 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.
  • Golvellius: Valley of Doom
    • The Blueberry Hill: Compile's handsome, perspective changing (think Zelda II) MSX game gets a Sega-developed Master System version. Feels like something in between The Adventure of Link, and Wonder Boy III: nice and arcadey.
    • shnozlak: Golvellius Valley Of Doom is not a “great” game but it is a great game to play. It's by Compile and has this Legend of Zelda I/II meets arcade feel that I cant get enough of. You enter the valley through this side scrolling cave filled with snakes the hero never looks back (you can't change direction) and the way closes behind you once you enter the valley. Is this a one-way trip? I'm excited to find out which is more than I can say for a lot of newer games. The music is mood inducing, simple and fairly memorable. The pen drawn art in the manual is pretty cute.
  • Kenseiden / Hwarang-ui Geom (Kor)
    • Loki Laufeyson: A great Castlevania-alike, set in fuedal Japan. (Or fuedal Korea in the Korean version)
  • Master of Darkness / Vampire: Master of Darkness (NA) / In the wake of Vampire (JP)
  • Ninja Gaiden
    • 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.
  • Phantasy Star (also on: GBA, Wii VC)
    • Takashi: The original Phantasy Star RPG is plenty of firsts, and it's a really delightful sci-fi romp even today (albeit levelling up is very frustrating).
  • R-Type
    • Wourme: Totally rewritten for this platform, the stripped-down presentation somehow adds to the game's atmosphere rather than diminishing it.
    • shnozlak: R-type is like the arcade version dipped in acetone. The graphics are simple and simply effective with some flair left in the level traditions. The music makes graceful use of the limited channels and the action is genuine R-type.
  • Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (also on: Amiga, Apple II, Atari, Atari ST, C64, FM Towns, MSX, NES, PC, PC-88/98)
    • Bennett: still after 26 years, the only game with an interesting take on ethics. (and I do ethics for a living, so this is my professional opinion)
  • 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).
  • Zillion
    • MOAI: SEGA's answer to Nintendo's Metroid. It may be less atmospheric, but it's still a game worth trying.

See Also

 sb/recommended/master_system.txt · Last modified: 2017/04/08 09:58 (external edit)
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