My Top Ten Sega Genesis Games

I know a lot of Sega fans have done this already, so I thought it would be fun too...
September 25, 2007

As a kid, I had a Sega Genesis, and to me it was the best thing since sliced bread. I can say that I played a lot of great games and a few crappy games too. I got my first Sega Genesis for Christmas in 1994 and it served me well for many years. Then, like a lot of idiot gamers in the late 90's, I sold my console and all my wonderful games out for either a PS1 or an N64. I had a PS1. It was the biggest mistake I ever made. Fortunately, I discovered emulators and roms some time in High School and was able to play all the Sega classics from my childhood.

Even though it was great to be reunited with all these great old friends (and even a few new ones), it didn't feel the same. Instead of sitting in front of my TV holding an official Sega Genesis controller and playing real Sega cartridges (but I hated blowing them if they got too dusty) on a real Sega Genesis console, I was using downloaded roms on a downloaded emulator and playing them with a USB game controller on a PC. There really wasn't anything like the feeling of sitting in front of the TV playing the real deal with a real controller. Then, in college, I found a Genesis 3 on eBay for $30 and I was instantly reunited with an old friend. Over the last two years, I've been collecting games and I now have about 40 excellent titles. Some of them are better than others, but I love them all.

10. Earthworm Jim 2

Why Earthworm Jim 2 do you ask? Why not the first one? Well, for a couple of reasons. It wasn't as funny as the second game, the control scheme was better in the second game, and the gameplay was more varied. C'mon, you had shooting levels, digging levels, puppy-bouncing levels (these were the worst!!), swimming levels (as a blind cave salamander), flying levels (on Jim's pocket rocket) and so much more. The game had such a sense of humor with its falling grannies, giant furnace-looking guns, pig and cow lifting, and enemies like giant steaks and file cabinets. Plus it would be the last great Earthworm Jim outing, but there are talks of a revival sometime soon. Maybe not on the PSP, but somewhere else.

9. Street Fighter II Special Championship Edition

Any gamer can agree that Street Fighter II was one of the best arcade fighting games of the 90's, with its tight and balanced game play and unique and diverse characters. At the time the concept of a fighting tournament that took place around the world was innovative story-telling. Nobody had done a game like this before. The port on the Sega Genesis was no different. I had a lot of fun with this game and I still do when I have friends over. It doesn't matter what system you played it on, everyone liked and still likes SF II.

8. Gunstar Heroes

I didn't discover this game until I sold my original Sega Genesis and started playing it via emulation in High School. Then, when I got my Genesis 3, I was able to hunt this game down for my own enjoyment. This game was for the most hardcore gamers. It was created by Treasure (a company started by few of the guys who helped create Contra for Konami and then left shortly after) in 1993 and it amazes me how well it still holds up today. It was even one of the first Genesis games (along with Sonic The Hedgehog) available for download on the Wii Virtual Console. It is basically a run-and-gun platformer that features an epic story of a planet enslaved by an evil Empire with the help of four mystical gems. As either Gunstar Red or Gunstar Blue, you must battle your way through seven stages and save the galaxy from certain doom.

7. Castlevania: Bloodlines

This was another game I really didn't know about until I played it on Kega Fusion (best Genesis/Master System/Game Gear emulator out there). Castlevania was mostly a Nintendo property, but Konami decided to show the Sega fans some love (along with Contra Hard Corps) and released Castlevania: Bloodlines. The basic storyline in each CV game is about the same. Someone (in this case, Countess Elizabeth Bartley) has resurrected Count Dracula again and he is out for revenge on the Belmonts, a family clan of vampire hunters led by none other than Simon Belmont. CV:B is different in that it doesn't feature a Belmont as the main character, but rather a couple of their distant relatives, John Morris and Eric Lecarde. John is the typical whip wielding warrior while Lecarde fights with an Alucard Spear. All the monsters are here (zombies, bats, skeletons, bone pillars, etc.) and so are most of the power-ups (boomerangs, axes, vials of holy water, etc.). So what makes this Castlevania game so special? It was on the Sega Genesis of course.

6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist

I loved this game. I was such a TMNT freak growing up and when my cousin rented this game from Blockbuster video one weekend, I flipped out. It was another Konami arcade port of TMNT: Turtles In Time, but this time it was for the Sega Genesis. It wasn't an exact port, but overall I think it was a better game than the SNES version. This time instead of traveling through time to stop Shredder and Krang from taking over the world, you had to stop the evil Shredder from shrinking and stealing all of the world's famous wonders and monuments using the fabled hyperstone. The gameplay was about the same, you fought ninjas, stone warriors, and mousers as well as the many bosses from the comics, cartoon, and the movies. Perhaps what I remember most about this game was the near impossible fourth stage in which you had to fight all of the game's bosses (albeit a bit stronger) up until that point and the evil scientist creator of the mousers, Professor Baxter Stockman. Other memorable moments that were standard for all the Turtle games in this era were the elevator level (pictured above), a surfing level, and the final confrontation with the Super Shredder from TMNT II: The Secret of the Ooze.

5. Battle Toads and Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team

Battle Toads was the poor man's version of the TMNT. The only difference is that they weren't known for comics, movies, cartoons (they had one crappy Thanksgiving special), toys or an expensive multi-million dollar advertising campaign. They were known for their games. Their incredibly, difficult, hardcore games with no learning curve. Its like the first two or three levels weren't so bad and then all of a sudden they drop some kind of a bike racing level or an asteroids-like level where you have to destroy the Dark Queen's Ratship, The Colossus. Even though the games were hard, I loved the characters. Rash, Zitz, Pimple, Professor T. Bird, The Dark Queen, Big Blag, Robo Mantis, and the list goes on. But, in 1993, the 'Toads decided to team up with the brothers Lee and defeat the Dark Queen and all her lackeys once and for all. My cousin and I loved this game but our true favorite was the 1994, EA Arcade Game version of Battle Toads, with all the fun of the originals but with more blood and guts and best of all: NO BIKE RIDING LEVELS!! ^_^

4. Streets of Rage 2

This was another sequel game by Sega that expanded on the original game and exceeded it in terms of gameplay, graphics, and much more. I was introduced to Streets of Rage 2 some time in middle school when a buddy of mine lent me some 20 odd games of his. This was one of the games that stood out from the rest. I remember when I played this game for the first time.

We had just gotten back from seeing Titanic at the movie theater (Great film but terribly sad. It was the first movie that made me cry, not to mention it was the first time I saw boobs in a movie. Thanks Ms. Winslet!! ^_^), and I hadn't cycled through all of the games (c'mon there was about 20 of them) yet. I slapped it in and was introduced to the story of an unnamed city in peril from a powerful and mysterious crime lord by the name of Mr. X. You battled his minions through the city until you reached his lush executive penthouse atop his office building downtown. It was up to you to stop him and return peace and order to the city. My favorite characters were Max and Skate and my favorite level was the carnival with the Aliens-esque boss level. Strange coincidence that the movie I saw that day was directed by James Cameron, who also directed Aliens.

3. Lightening [sic] Force (known as Thunder Force IV in the U.K. and Japan)

Another fantastic title discovered through a rental! This is pretty much the only side scrolling rail shooter you need to play. Not R-Type, not Arrow Flash, not even the poorly translated starter of the "All Your Base" phenomenon, Zero Wing. It was Lightening Force. This was another one of those games that I wouldn't recommend to newbies. This is only for the most hardcore of Sega gamers. It is only because there is so much going on at once. The music is great, the graphics are greater, and this was a fairly early title. Perhaps the only way that you could possibly get through this game is if you use the life cheat (set your lives on the options screen to zero, major glitch in the programming but fortunately that is the only one. Instead of zero lives you get 99!!). Another great feature is that you could choose the order in which to the first four levels (Daser, Ruins, Strite, and the Space Armada). After the first four levels, that was where things really started to get interesting. The levels got progressively harder and you got the CRAW sword, a concentrated beam of energy fired from your ship. If you want to see what your Genesis can really do graphically and sound wise, this is the title to get!

2. Disney's Aladdin

Almost there...Probably the fourth game I ever got and my aunt's personal favorite, Disney's Aladdin. This was like a lot of other movie based games at the time only it was made by Virgin Games, who was known at the time as the maker of fantastic and fairly accurate Disney games (not to mention the producer of Earthworm Jim via its Shiny Entertainment division). The Lion King and Aladdin were my favorite Disney films of the 90's but the Aladdin game was much more memorable than The Lion King game. You were Aladdin, and with the help of your monkey pal, Abu and a loyal Genie you were destined to save Princess Jasmine and the kingdom of Agrabah from the clutches of the evil Jafar. Sounds a little like Jordan Mechner's Prince of Persia doesn't it? Well, it was a lot easier and you had a sword and apples to aid you in your journey. You fought palace guards, Iago, snakes, and many other villians through the course of the game. The one thing I remember most about this game is now easy it was to cheat (AA, BB, AA, BB, AA, BB, AA, until you hear a chime) and skip to the levels you liked. I also remember the laugh attack I had the first time I jumped on a camel. POO-AH!! POO-AH!! POO-AH!! ^_^ Great times...

1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

The year was 1994. After a year of begging and pleading for a Sega Genesis, I finally got one for Christmas. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. The first game I received was the pack-in title Genesis title of the time, Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It was more than just a pack-in title though. Much more. It was an epic battle between a spiky mammal and his egg-shaped, evil arch-nemesis to save all his animal friends and the entire planet Mobius from a grisly fate. Sonic had gotten a new buddy since his last outing. The loyal and incredibly cute two-tailed fox, Miles "Tails" Prower. Sonic could run as fast as the speed of light and Tails used his two tails to fly (however, it wouldn't be until Sonic 3 that you could control and actually do this). Tails' moves in this game were pretty much the same as Sonic's, but we'll forgive him.

This game also marked the first appearance of the super spin-dash ability and Super Sonic. To become Super Sonic, you had to collect all seven Chaos Emeralds and have at least fifty rings. Then all you had to do was jump and voila! you turned gold and all your abilities were enhanced. But collecting all the emeralds was no easy task. Not by a long shot. Perhaps my fondest memory of this game was playing it with my cousin with him controlling Sonic and me controlling Tails. No I wasn't always on screen, but it gave me a chance to see most of the game up until the Death Egg Zone. He was the best Sonic player I ever knew.

It wouldn't be until 8th grade that I would finally beat this game and it was no easy feat. A. You had no rings, and B. Both bosses were ruthless and unforgiving killers (Silver Sonic and Dr. Robotnik's Mech) That was a wonderful day. My heart was racing and I couldn't believe what I had done. After years of trying I finally beat Sonic the Hedgehog 2. This was especially grand because I usually never got past the second level (f---ing mega purple muck and that f---ing boss that shot some blue goo on top of you and caused you to fall through the f---ing floor!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.......-_-).

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Toejam and Earl, Ecco the Dolphin, The Jungle Book, Radical Rex, Virtual Pinball, Outrun, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie, Alien 3, the Mortal Kombat series, Vectorman, Frogger, Rambo III, Bubsy, Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic and Knuckles.
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