Underrated SEGA and SNES games
the 16-bit era's forgotten treasures...
If you've read my previous article or you grew up in a small European country, you'd know what a big deal the NES was when it hit us in the 90s. It was the best thing ever...until my uncle sent my cousin a Genesis and a couple of games from the US. He had picked some of the console's best - Sonic 2, Ecco, Castle of Illusion, Taz-Mania, X-Men...Around the same time the Mega Drive made its way on our market and games started getting to the stores. So me, my cousing and my brother started scouting around even more. We got some pretty cool and obscure games and to this day we still have fond memories of playing these forgotten gems.
This article is mainly going to be focused on Sega games, as I never owned a Super Nintendo and haven't really played many games on it.
And now, let's get on with the list:
The subtitle describes it best - "A game of armored combat". At first it might seem a little simple - just shoot the crap out of everything with your giant robot. However each level had a unique setting and hazzards and different objectives to be completed. The best part, by far though was the two player mode. No, there weren't two robots. One of the players would control the legs and the other would control the guns of the Mech. Now that was pretty cool! The graphics were pretty neat too.
My cousin and bro had rented the game from a local store and they loved it. After that they spent about a week trying to find a place that had it for sale. Eventually they found one and was it a glorious day when they did! I remember that the cover art had faded a bit, so my brother used some markers to colour it in and he did an awesome job. My cousin loved when the game said "Enemy mech approaching!". We didn't know a lot of English back then so he thought the evil robots were called "Proachings". We still call them that to this day.
The Lost Vikings (Gen/SNES)
This game is one of Blizzard's finest and it kicks ass! I mean, it's about Vikings who get kidnapped by aliens and try to find their way back. How cool is that?
The game has three characters, each with different abilities and the objective is to guide them all safely to the end of the level. There was quite some thinking to do on some levels. The game got a sequel, which was also great, but not as much as the first one.
Unfortunately we never owned this game, but we rented in quite a lot and we got quite far.
The Immortal (Genesis)
Pretty short, tough one of the few games that actually had unexpected plot twists and interesting storylines. The Immortal pretty much played like an RPG with it's came angle and gameplay style. It did however have unique fight sequences that required you to save your strenght until the enemy is tired so you can freely slash him with your sword. A part I enjoyed a lot, besides all the puzzle solving, was the sleeping element. On each level there you could find a haystack to sleep on and refill your health. The dreams were also a very interesting way to tell the story. It was also a pretty gory game, I mean, the cover clearly stated "Over 30 fully animated deaths"!
Me and my brother got this game for our cousin's birthday. We all thought the cover looked awesome. My cousin however found the game a bit hard and with my help he managed to get to level two. And that was it.
A few years back I finally decied to play through this one and I did. And I wasn't disappointed. The waiting was really worth it and I replay the game from time to time.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Genesis)
Unlike the previous entry, this was actually a very long game, with huge levels to explore. The game had a wide variety of dinosaurs and also interesting information each species. There weren't two levels that were alike as far as objectives go. You had to trap Stegosaurs, rescue a hunter, escape a T-Rex and at your disposal was a selection of weapons and vehicles. After you beat a couple of levels you could then go to a Boss Stage. Each of these was different from the rest of the game and they included a First-Person Bike Race, Rafting, Helicopter Flying...It was a real fun game, especially for two players.
If you ever play it, be sure to watch the end credits until the very end...
The Adventures of Batman & Robin (Genesis)
The Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder track down The Joker, Two-Face, Mad Hatter and Mr Freeze in order to save Gotham from destruction. This Batman game was really different from all the rest. Instead of a beat-em-up, it was more like a Contra game. You could play as either Batman or Robin or two players could join forces and play at the same time. There were 3 different weapons, each of which could be upgraded. To make things more interesting, the game also had a few overhead gliding levels and a few jet-pack levels. The game was one of the first to use Sega's new-at-the-time 3D sprite driver and the result was absolutely amazing. It had stunning animations and the Mad Hatter Boss fight is one of the most interesting and visually undescribable levels I have ever seen.
It's a darn hard game, tough, and takes a lot of patience to beat.
My brother got this as a gift from a friend of his, who knew what a huge Batman fan I was. I sucked at it back then, so only he and my cousin would play it for most of the time. They never beat it tough. And then, just like with The Immortal, I decided to sit down and beat this son of a gun...and I actually did. My cousin couldn't believe it when I called him to tell him about it. He said he will never believe it, until I beat it in front of his eyes...So I beat it again.
Yeah, I'm just kidding ya...
Phantom 2040 (GEN/SNES)
I've never seen the show or read the comics, but I liked the Phantom movie a lot and that's how the game got my interest. Although it might look like a typical sidescroller, it's not. Depending on what routes you take, how fast you are and what decisions you make you could play through the game in a lot of different ways, which is always good.
This Mad Max game is much better than the NES one. What do you mean it's not Mad Max? You walk and drive around a desert wasteland, dressed in black leather, shooting punks with a sawed-off shotgun and check the water for radiation. Yeah, not like Mad Max at all...sure the car was different, but still.
Castlevania: Dracula X (SNES)
This game is overshadowed by it's original version - Rondo of Blood and the great "Super Castlevania IV". Sure it took away some of the updated the previous game had, but this one was still pretty fun to play. It had great graphics, great music (level one's music - Richter's Theme is one of my favourite pieces from the series) and great atmosphere (something later Castlevania games tend to overlook) and if that's not enough - it also had 3 different endings. I'm very disappointed that the game didn't make it into "Dracula X Chronicles" for the PSP, because even though it's made of elements of Rondo of Blood, it's still a different game.
Biker Mice from Mars (SNES)
Who would argue what a great show this was! Even the new series are fun to watch, even tough they have crappy animation. I was really happy when I found out there was a Biker Mice game. And then I saw it was a racing game...I never liked racing games, but this one I was really satisfied with. It didn't use the SNES' Mode 7 graphics, but it still was a very colouful and addictive game to play, with some very interesting tracks.
That's pretty much all the 16-bit games I've played and felt they weren't appreciated enough.
Stay tuned for an upcoming second part to the Underrated NES games article, as there are some which even I forgot to mention.