9 of the Greatest Sega Genesis Games
"Your World Will Never Be The Same"
This side-scrolling platformer released in 1992 was published by Electronic Arts, developed by Zeus software, and produced by Dinamic Software. The gameplay is exciting and fast paced, where you play as the adventurer Rohan. Your mission will be to travel through danger filled woods, menacing monsters, and daunting obstacles in order to free the monks of the lost lands who have been turned to stone. The default weapon in the game is a dagger but you will be able to find a variety of different ones throughout the levels. The gameplay can get quite difficult, and the levels are timed so you do have to circumvent the obstacles and complete the puzzles while under pressure from the clock.
Rohan starts out with basic armor, but it can be upgraded to silver and then gold by accumulating enough coins. Enemies will drop coins as they are slain that you will have the opportunity to gather if you move swiftly enough. However, if Rohan is killed most of the coins will be lost and you will need to begin amassing them again. Also keep an eye out of for treasure chests containing helpful items, but heed caution as some can yield negative outcomes. The levels are very well designed, with exceptional graphics for the era and the action is smooth although rather frenzied at times.
This lesser known 1995 action platform release was based on the movie of the same name. Developed by Probe Software and published by Acclaim Entertainment and Throwback Entertainment, this game features run and gun gameplay with a slew of different weapons. Levels greatly differ from a futuristic city to a post-nuclear wasteland, and several of the level’s backgrounds were generated by digitizing sets from the movie.
You will play as Judge Dredd navigating dynamic stages filled with multi-tiered platforming, climbing, elevator tubes and conveyor belts. The game has a very polished look and is quite visually impressive compared to many games of its day. You’ll be able to arrest or kill criminals, with each enemy being distinctive in how you can induce them to surrender. The boss battles can be rather difficult and the lack of save spots throughout the game can cause some frustration. Overall, it is a solid game that will provide you with an ample challenge and some distinctive pursuits that submerge you into the familiar Judge Dredd world.
This classic fighting game was released in 1991, developed by SNK and designed by former Capcom employee Takashi Nishiyama. The plot revolves around Terry and Andy Bogard, two brothers, who were orphaned and living on the streets before being adopted. One day witnessing the grisly death of their adopted father at the hands of Geese Howard, the brothers make an oath. They will fine-tune their marital arts skills so they can avenge their father. The brothers take different paths, one remaining in America while the other goes to study traditional martial arts in Japan.
At the start of the game, you will be given the choice to play as one of the brothers or Joe, a faithful friend to the Bogard brothers who is a master in Japanese Muy Thai. Next you will be able to select one of four fighters as your first opponent; upon defeating them you will go on to face another round of opponents. This fighting game packs a punch all around, providing unique special attacks, excellent character sprites, and spirited music. It went on to become Japan’s fourth highest grossing arcade game of 1992, even surpassing Captain Commando and Street Fighter II.
Ecco: The Tides of Time
This 1994 release was a sequel to Ecco the Dolphin, continuing the storyline right where the last game ended. It features similar gameplay with a few new additions and a surrealist soundtrack. It is also similar to its predecessor in maintaining a high difficulty level for players, steeped with puzzles and scavenger hunts throughout. The tale takes place in the future where dolphins have developed helium sacs and are able to fly, as well as having limited telekinetic abilities. The storyline is both complex and captivating, truly immersing the player into Ecco’s world.
This game will usually take a little while to defeat, as the player must thoroughly examine their surroundings and have a good control of Ecco to move forward. Ecco has the ability to ram attackers at high speeds, interact with various objects, use multi-directional sonar attacks, and even transform into other animals in the later levels. It is a unique game that provides hours of varied play, has remarkably colorful graphics, charming level layouts, and mind-bending puzzles.
Mario Andretti Racing
A formula one racing game released in 1994, developed by Stormfront Studios and High Score productions, and published by Electronic Arts. It was one of the early titles in the EA Sports line, with the dedication to creating a groundbreaking racing game shining through. Race driver Mario Andretti personally guided the development of the AI used in the nonplayer cars. The game uses different physics and AI for each type of racing; stock cars (NASCAR), Indy cars, and sprint cars (dirt track).
There is an Andretti tips practice mode that will help you get started maneuvering on certain tracks and gain basic knowledge about braking and the pit. Even if you master one type of racing, trying out another will be like starting all over as the cars all handle so differently. The game offers many options such as a two-player split screen mode or a professional campaign, where you will be given passwords so you can get back to your racing career at later time. You also can change the point of view when racing as well as the color of your vehicle. This game was ahead of its time, paving the future for the awe-inspiring racing games we enjoy today.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist
This extraordinary side-scrolling beat em’ up classic was released in 1992. It was developed and published by Konami, being their debut title for the Sega Genesis. The turtle’s nemesis Shredder comes into possession of the Hyperstone, an object from Dimension X which holds extraordinary powers that could easily destroy the world. The turtles go on a dangerous journey to stop him, fighting various brutes, avoiding tumultuous obstacles, and boosting themselves with pizza power.
The gameplay is incredibly slick and enjoyable, with the player given the choice to pick one of the four turtles who each have their signature weapon. The fast-paced soundtrack and lively sound effects match perfectly with the rapid gameplay and overall theme. There are five unique stages which each have their fierce boss to overcome. While the game could have been longer, the excellent arcade-quality graphics and phenomenal music make this a work of art that continues to be appreciated to this day.
This game was released in 1993, one year after the movie Toys, that it is based upon. It was developed by Imagineering, Inc and published by Absolute Entertainment. The plot is rather wonky with a dying father attempting to get his irresponsible son to take over the toy company, who must reclaim it from his evil uncle, General Zevo. The Uncle is manufacturing a deadly army of military weapons all out of seemingly harmless toys.
The shenanigans ensue as you enter the factory armed with only a peanut gun facing hordes of computerized toys attacking you from every angle. You must use your wits and slim arsenal of your own to attempt to maneuver throughout the factory without being pulverized by spinning tops or exploding bowling balls. Your main goal is to destroy all the security cameras, while finding extra weapons along the way. The camera angels can get a little peculiar in the later levels, but overall, this game is a fascinating oddity, providing rare opponents in an entertaining setting.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
An instant classic, this 1992 release overjoyed Sonic fans and reeled in masses of new ones. It was developed and published by Sega who cut no corners with this sequel, enhancing the music, visuals, level design and gameplay. As with the first game, players will find themselves hurtling through side-scrolling levels while defeating enemies and gathering rings, all with a clock ticking down. This sequel also introduces Sonic’s sidekick, Tails, who can be controlled by a second player. The gameplay is faster, the levels are larger, and there are special stages that feature incredible pseudo-3D graphics.
Sonic’s nemesis, Dr. Robotnik is back planning to dominate the world using Chaos Emeralds and his army of robots. Travel through beautiful and diverse levels, including a chemical power plant, a metropolis zone, and even a casino stage. Play in two player versus mode to compete in split screen races; in case of a tie the special stage will need to be completed. The game also boasts one of the best music soundtracks of any video game, from the title screen to the very end, it’s likely these buoyant tunes won’t leave your memory anytime soon.
Streets of Rage 2
Unquestionably one of the best beat em’ up games ever made, this side-scrolling masterpiece was released in 1992 and soon became one of the best-known games for the Genesis. Developed and published by Sega, this bare-knuckle sequel returns with two original characters Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding. It also introduces two new characters, Max the burley wrestler, and Skate who is lightning fast. Each character has unique stats such as stamina, strength and speed, as well as exclusive special moves.
One year after the original Streets of Rage, Mr. X and his syndicate have returned for revenge on the city and kidnapped the previous character, Adam. It is up to the four friends to clean up the streets and take care of Mr. X once and for all. The gameplay is superb in both one and two player modes, where you will stroll the streets beating up assorted goons nonstop. The soundtrack composed by Yuzo Koshiro was revolutionary, combining synthwave, electronic house, breakbeat, and hardcore techno. Critically acclaimed at the time of its release, this game is still revered as one of the greatest video games in history.
About the author
M.R. Cameo generally writes horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and nonfiction, yet enjoys dabbling in different genres. She is currently doing freelance work as a writer, ghostwriter, copywriter, editor, and proofreader for various publications.