Here's the sequel to my "Genesis does!" article...
I'm absolutely certain that if you grew up in the years 1989-1996, you probably had a champion in terms of video gaming. It was the time of 16-bit, with Sega and their Genesis, released in 1989, versus Nintendo with their Super Nintendo, released in 1991. While I won't deny there were some video games that Sega actually did better, that's not the end of the story--Nintendo did plenty good on their own. In this three part series, I'll look at which games Nintendo and Sega seemed to do better, and one were it seems they both slipped up. Keep in mind I won't introduce any one company exclusive series (Mario, Zelda, Sonic, Ecco). So, here we go with...
Video games better on...
...the Super Nintendo.
(The pic from the Genesis game is on the left, the one from the SNES game is on the right)
Street Fighter 2 Turbo/Super Street Fighter 2
A game that basically started the 2D fighter revolution, both SF2T and SSF2 are the start of the countless remakes/revisions/spin-offs for the amazingly popular Capcom title Street Fighter 2. The game's plot isn't totally relevant--you would take the role of one of eight World Warriors, including military serviceman Guile, Shotos Ken and Ryu, Chinese beauty Chun-Li, sumo champion E. Honda, Brazilian beast Blanka, Soviet wrestler Zangief or Indian witch doctor Dhalsim--or the four New Challengers, including Hong Kong movie star Fei Long, British Secret Service agent Cammy, towering Indian wrestler T. Hawk or Jamaican kickboxing musician Dee Jay--to counterattack the villainous warlord/drug dealer/terrorist/psychopath M. Bison and his cronies Sagat, Vega and Balrog (who were also playable). Thanks to the SNES game's ability to display more colors on screen at one time (256 for SNES, 64 for Genesis), the SNES versions have a much more impressive look and feel. The character voices are much easier to understand and the music doesn't sound as tinny. Another thing I liked is because the SNES uses a default six button controller, the gameplay feels natural, unlike the Genesis default 3-button controller where the player would start with punches, and must press the Start button to use kicks, and again to switch back and forth (which takes out the Pause button as well). In a sense, a 6-button controller is recommended. One thing I thought the Genesis game did better is the no-code-necessary for the fastest Turbo speed in SF2: SCE (the Genesis game was called "Special Champion Edition" due to some copyrights) and the option for the "Expert" challenge mode in SSF2 where you'd fight all 16 characters in the game instead of just 12. Beyond that, my recommendation for 16-bit Street Fighter is the SNES game.
The Simpsons: Virtual Bart
I know I once claimed that The Simpsons have had a lot of trouble landing themselves a halfway decent video game (and still do), but I happen to have some fond memories playing this game. The plot involves Bart getting stuck in Martin Prince's virtual reality wheel during a science fair and you must play through the 6 mini games so Bart won't get sick when he's let out. One thing that I liked was during the title screen, Homer's voice can be heard announcing the game in an echoing tone, as opposed to the Genesis game where...he sounds like he's talking in his typical voice. Two of the mini-games, Baby Bart and Pork Factory Pig Bart I never cared for, and I would guess the Doomsday Bart level is good depending on how you would enjoy length. The Dinosaur Bart level is a regular platform game. Two things basically recommend the SNES game; there is one timelessly fun mini-game where you throw tomatoes/eggs at your classmates on school grounds, and the hit detection and marker seem to work better in the SNES game. In the Mt. Splashmore level, I noticed an indicator on the progression bar in the SNES game that would essentially inform you to take either the pink, green or blue tubes, something you don't get on the Genesis game--so completing this mini-game on the Genesis is nothing but a crapshoot. Ultimately go for the SNES game for some Virtual Bart. It's difficult, but its challenge is somewhat feasible.
For the most part, Batman's career in video gaming was tough. The earliest games were awesome, but some others were terrible. But I can say with no doubt Batman Returns is best played on SNES. You take Batman through the major events of the 1992 Warner Brothers movie, trying to stop the vengeful Catwoman and the subterranean crime lord known as the Penguin from committing his terrible crimes across Gotham City. While I loved the original Batman game based on the 1989 movie, and the fact the Genesis game was made by Sega and the SNES game was made by Konami, there's no contest here--the Genesis game's side scrolling antics are less enjoyable than the Final Fight-style play of the SNES game.
While I admit to never being a fan of 1991 cartoon series (it just annoyed me), this is another game best played on the SNES. The two games are completely different (the Genesis game is a side-scroller, while the SNES game is like a racer mixed with a capture-based game), but the Genesis game can't measure up. The control over Taz is excellent and the multitude of colors help make the game cartoonishly fun and the various little twists (such as things to avoid) they'll throw out in the SNES game keep it fresh and interesting. The Genesis game, on the other hand, requires you to take too many faith-based jumps--something that can prove frustrating. Another problem is while Taz eating something is completely up to the player to respond in the SNES game, in the Genesis game it doesn't matter if it's a power-up or something that will hurt you--he'll just eat whatever he touches including some enemies. And don't get me started on that mine cart level--I could never beat the Genesis game because of that. Not one of my favorite cartoons, but Taz-Mania is a SNES game all the way.
Mortal Kombat 2
After the nonviolent version of the original Mortal Kombat game failed miserably thanks to Sega having played a figuratively dirty trick, Nintendo had learned their lesson about giving gamers what they want (good thing too, 'cause their "Play it Loud" campaign would have crashed if they did that again). This time around, the Mortal Kombatants including returning fighters Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Raiden, Sub-Zero and Scorpion (and the now playable Shang Tsung and Reptile--Sonya and Kano are literally out in the background in this game), together with Sonya's army partner Jax, Shaolin monk Kung Lao, beautiful twin assassins Kitana and Mileena and the hideous wasteland warrior Baraka, are lured to compete in the Outworld where Shang Tsung's enemies can face certain death by Outworld overlord Shao Kahn and Goro's tiger-stripped cousin Kintaro. Unlike the first game, the SNES game is the one to get. I liked the announcer giving out more voice samples in the SNES game, as opposed to him only saying "Fight!!" in the Genesis game. Another thing was the complete win animations--characters like Baraka and Johnny Cage only do half their win animations in the Genesis game. Some of the fatality moves like Sub-Zero's Death Freeze fatality are easier to perform on the SNES game (although it's admittedly cool performing Shang Tsung's Soul Steal fatality on Kung Lao or Raiden--they'll still be wearing the hat). Another factor is for the hidden characters Jade, Smoke and Noob Saibot, on the SNES game they would be fought in Goro's Lair (where they would be typically fought), and Genesis game uses a recolored blue portal (interesting, but not the same). And finally, the game's endings would ultimately be more rewarding on SNES. Round 1 went to the Genesis, but Round 2 goes to the SNES.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
I'm sure you remember the Power Rangers during the height of their popularity. The two games have the same general story--the Rangers are doing their thing defeating whatever Rita Repulsa throws at them--however, the SNES game is a side-scroller and the Genesis game is a one-on-one fighter. I'd recommend the SNES game. With the larger, more colorful character sprites and more lively animations, the SNES game would certainly have a greater appeal to its core audience; it also has a larger amount of monsters that the Rangers would fight over the course of the oldest episodes. While both games are somewhat easy, I would say the SNES game is more worth it--the levels have much more to play around in and you fight more than the main enemies; there's hordes of Putty Patrollers to fight. The only things the SNES game doesn't have is the Green Ranger and the Dragonzord--while the Genesis game does have them, together with the mystical tune of the Green Ranger's Dragon Dagger--the Genesis game is still not worth it because there's too few enemies and very low challenge. The SNES game is a much stronger video game; even the Power Rangers Game Gear game is a lot better than the Genesis title!
TMNT: Turtles in Time/The Hyperstone Heist
Yet another entry to the Turtles games based on the classic 1980s series, the Turtles have returned to save New York City from the clutches of Shredder and Krang. What was really nice about the SNES Turtles in Time is it not only keeps the Slam and Throw-toward-the-camera moves, but the fact they took the arcade game and added some new game elements that I'll soon get into. They seemed to really want to give players incentive to buy the home console game. All I can really say about the Genesis game is it's basically like if the arcade game was cut in half. You keep the Slam, but not the Throw. While yeah, the Genesis game has fewer, but longer levels, the SNES game has a more impressive variety in levels and selection of characters. They give you fly Baxter, Metalhead, Rat King on a Footski, Rahzar and Tokka, Shredder in a battle tank, Slash, Bebop and Rocksteady, Leatherhead, Krang's Android, Krang in a shuttle and Super Shredder in the SNES game, while in the Genesis game you get Leatherhead, Rocksteady and not Bebop, Tatsu, human Baxter, Krang and Super Shredder. This is a no-brainer. The SNES game is the one to get.
Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose!/Buster's Hidden Treasure
Another longtime favorite of mine was this SNES game based on Tiny Toon Adventures, another of my favorite cartoons. While the Genesis game is about Buster Bunny trying to find a hidden treasure, the SNES game is about Buster going through a variety of wacky scenarios (just like the show). One thing that I loved about the SNES game is its uncanny ability to stay faithful to the series; it's not an all-Buster themed game but throughout the whole game you'll see the various cast members appear in the darnedest places. Every Tiny Toon character appears at some point, which is an awesome way to stay in character to the series. The larger character sprites will obviously appeal more to younger fans of the series. The gameplay is not merely jump-and-jump but it throws in some little elements to spice it up. There's even a level with a football theme! And the five mini-games that you would play to win extra lives are a blast! On the Genesis? Well, it doesn't do much for me; it just seems to play like a bad test version of Sonic the Hedgehog. It's heavily in favor of the SNES here.
The Lion King
A video game about the 1994 Disney classic, The Lion King, unlike Aladdin, was the same game on both consoles (I guess the Genesis Aladdin sold better, considering both the Jungle Book and Lion King games were made by Virgin Interactive this time). Your objective is to guide Simba through the major sequences of the film, and some others like the bonus games with Timon and Pumbaa, go through puberty, and finally take your place as the rightful king of Pride Rock, which your nasty Uncle Scar is trying to usurp. I have played through both versions and my favor belongs to the SNES game. I enjoyed the more pleasant audio on the SNES (although it's nice to hear the complete instrumental version of "Can't Wait to be King" on the Genesis game) and the sound effects are more clean. The vibrant color setup works nicely for this type of game as opposed to the muddy Genesis graphics and while the game is challenging, it's reasonable. Another thing is the controls; as cub Simba, the control is easy for jump, roll and roar, but as a grown lion, the default 6-button SNES controller works to the SNES game's advantage. Adult Simba has four individual moves--paw swipe, jump, roar, and throw. The throw move is required to eventually defeat Scar in the game's final level, and because the default Genesis controller has only 3 buttons, the player would need to awkwardly press A and B simultaneously to trigger the throw. Ultimately it's nothing less than an incredible video game tie-in to Disney's masterpiece, but when push comes to shove, the SNES Lion King is the way to go.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters
Again Konami went out of their way to make two different Turtles games--the SNES title features a fighting tournament and the Genesis game has the Turtles and their friends traveling into Dimension X to save Splinter from their villainous clones--I would say the SNES is better from the start in an extremely blantant way. I liked how the SNES game has a wider variety of regular and special moves; while there's two punches and two kicks on the SNES game, the Genesis game has a punch, a kick and a taunt. The SNES game also gives you 10 playable fighters, including the Turtles, Shredder, Aska (character created for the game), Chrome Dome, Wingnut (both from the toyline), War and Armaggon (from the Archie comic books--and the two bosses Rat King and Karai are playable through codes), the Genesis game gives you 8--the Turtles, Casey Jones, April O'Neil, Ray Fillet and Sisyphus (another original--but this mutant beetle is just lame) and the three bosses Triceraton, Krang and Karai are unplayable. The fights also seem to last longer on the SNES cartridge, there are more, stronger gameplay options, and more character balance. By 'character balance', I'm talking evenness for each fighter. Playing the Genesis game with any character other than Casey Jones is a waste of time--he's got an invincible hockey stick spin move and an energy-depleting power bomb, which renders the game completely broken. It doesn't matter though as the Genesis game's ending is the same unless you play on the hardest difficulty level--and there's really no reason to use anyone else as the endings are all the same. This game is so heavily in favor of the SNES game it's practically maddening! The Genesis game might be marginally better than the NES game, but buying either of those two games over the SNES version is a total bust.
I'm sure there are some other game(s) that you would have thought were better as well, but these are some titles that come to my mind. Ultimately, the Genesis had some titles that fared better, typically shooters and sports games, but the SNES rocked the house for RPGs and brawlers. However, in my third article, I'll review some games you are better off avoiding on both systems. Stay tuned, Round 3 is coming up fast!