Back in the 80’s Nintendo was the big dog, they had a death grip on the industry. While they enjoyed their success, one of the most successful arcade companies was plotting the release of the system that would change the industry.
Sega already tested the home console business a few times before the Genesis, having the most success with the Master System, however they knew they had to step their game up to make a legitimate push at Nintendo, the result was fantastic.
Here are the must have Genesis games in my eyes. Some are unknown, some are well known, and all are awesome.
Chakan The Forever Man: 1992
Based the comic written by Robert A. Kraus, this game is relatively unknown by most gamers, however if you are up for the challenge than you will enjoy this rather dark game for its time.
The story follows Chakan a man so confident in his sword abilities he challenges death to a battle. The reward if he wins is eternal life; if he loses he is deaths servant for eternity. After winning the battle he is granted his wish but now must see the pain others see. He will never die even when injured, he will just wander searching for the horrors in the world for eternity. He must destroy four evils or he will live forever.
The game has a hub world, which resembles a structure built in space with different portals, which lead to the four elements earth, wind, water, and fire. Each world has different levels within that must be beat to progress. After each level you acquire a new weapon, which will help Chakan throughout each level. This is a difficult game, but it is fun and overlooked in the Genesis’s library.
Another lost gem in the Genesis library but also one of the best platformers I have played. It is bright and colourful, the game plays great being a creation of Sonic Team.
In this game, the evil space pirate Kaiser Greedy has brainwashed the planet’s leaders to do his bidding, and while doing so, has kidnapped Ristar’s father, the Legendary Hero.
As I stated above, this is one of the best platformers I have ever played, it is also one of the most unique. While the art style does resemble that of Sonic 3, the gameplay is what sets it apart from any other game that was released around that time. Ristar’s arms are super stretchable which is what most of the action is based around. To fight enemies you grab them and slingshot yourself towards them while you can jump, grabbing does a lot of the platforming, to move up or even jump across something, is done by grabbing. This is a must have for the Genesis and in terms of platforming, it is just as good as the Sonic games.
Streets of Rage 2: 1992
Mr. X is back and crime has taken over the city once again, and it is up to Axel and Blaze to clear the streets after Axel’s brother had been kidnapped.
While Nintendo had Final Fight, Sega had Streets of Rage. Whichever you prefer is personal preference because both are fantastic. In my opinion Streets of Rage 2 is the strongest in the series but pick up all three to make your collection complete. This game has amazing control and you can do cool things like cut people and have police cars shoot rockets at your enemies!
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle: 1989
Alex Kidd was Sega’s unofficial mascot before Sonic. He was supposed to compete against Mario and failed, but that does not mean this game should be overlooked.
The story isn’t amazing, he is searching for his father, but then again it is no worse than most of the other platformers for it’s time (looking at you Mario).
The gameplay is it shines. Having a bunch of cool gadgets like a laser ring, a pogo stick, or a helicopter bike which you play rock paper scissors to get are what makes it unique. The boss battles aren’t great but the platforming mixed with the use of items and the giant punches he throws make it a cool nod to Sega’s past in his last console game.
Shinobi 3: 1993
One of Sega’s flagship series’s from the Master System days just like Alex Kidd, Joe Musashi was another unofficial face to the company.
In this game the Crime Syndicate returns and it is up to Joe to take them down.
This game is different from the others in the series, focussing less on difficulty and more on speed (BLAST PROCESSING!). It is faSTpaced and smooth. The game is very arcade oriented and it is short but it is a fun play through.
Phantasy Star 2: 1990
The series that changed RPG’s made its Genesis debut with this title. If you are an RPG fan this was Sega’s answer to Final Fantasy and in some aspects the original entries were comparable or better. Many people bought the Genesis just for this game alone.
In this game, 1000 years have passed since the Dark Force was defeated in the previous game, however it has returned and it is up to Rolf and his friends to defeat it. There are familiar worlds from the previous entry, some have changed names but still sound similar.
The whole universe seems to be one leaving breathing solar system, which at the time was rather ambitious to achieve.
This is a classic RPG to the bone, grinding is necessary, however the universe is big and it is a great play through. If you are a fan of classic RPG’s than you will love this game, this series was king at a point in time and deserves some respect.
Golden Axe: 1989
A launch title for the Genesis was a good first impression for gamers new to Sega. It was a big hit and one of the more memorable tittles for the console.
Death Adder kidnaps the king and his daughter all while stealing the Golden Axe. Play through as a jacked up swordsman, a woman or a dwarf to try and stop him.
The gameplay in this game is great for a beat ‘em up, there are creatures to ride, magic to use and the parts where you kick elves to get the potions they carry is always good for a chuckle or two.
Sonic Series: 1991-1995
Picking one is like choosing the child you love most, it just can’t be done. Every game brings something new to the table and keeps the series fresh while not changing what made people love it in the first place. The blue blur took the world by storm with Sonic the Hedgehog, when it introduced the world to Sonic and Robotnik, Sonic 2 brought in Tails, while Sonic 3 allowed you to play as him, and Sonic and Knuckles let you play through all your old games as Knuckles. Sonic CD would be considered a step back in terms of characters however it created a whole new experience on the Genesis.
The story has never really changed since the beginning, Robotnik wants chaos emeralds, and Sonic stops him.
The story is not what matters though, tight controls, blistering fast speeds and crazy loops are what brought in the masses and it is what has kept such a loyal fan base even through some less than spectacular entries into the series. There are times where the Genesis can’t even keep up with him, but that is what makes it great. You get a sense of adrenaline and excitement when you pick up the controller.
Sonic brought in the masses, he brought Mario to his knees and he took the world by storm. All five in the series are a must for any Genesis owner, so if you are missing one buy it.
The Genesis was a great system and had a lot of great titles. I know I probably passed through a few that deserved recognition so leave a comment below to add what you think should be on this buyers guide?