Sega has officially announced another iteration of a mini console based on the Genesis/Mega Drive. While it is still made in conjunction with ATGames, it seems Sega is taking more involvement in this model, and ATGames has noted that they are switching to a more accurate emulator. With that in mind, here are a few games we’d like to see on this new mini console:
Castlevania: Bloodlines (AKA Castlevania: The New Generation in PAL regions, Vampire Killer in Japan)
For some inexplicable reason, Konami has never re-released Bloodlines. Even Rondo of Blood, made for the relatively low-key PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16, saw a port to the Wii’s Virtual Console and the PSP as an extra in Dracula X Chronicles. A direct sequel, Portrait of Ruin, was made for the DS with no rerelease or in-game unlockable.
Starring John Morris, the game is a classic-style Castlevania that plays similarly to Super Castlevania IV, featuring diagonal whipping, downward whipping, and whip swinging Indiana-Jones-style. John Morris is the son of Quincy Morris from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the father of Jonathan Morris from Portrait of Ruin. There’s also a second character named Eric Lecarde, who would appear under the alias “Wind” in Portrait of Ruin. Uniquely, the game has “super subweapons” for each character, as well as third-level whip/spear upgrades that disappear once the player takes damage.
Copies of Bloodlines go for a high price on the used market because they're the only legal way to play the game. The game was released very late into the Genesis’ life in March of 1994, eight months before the release of the Sega Saturn. It deserves a spot on any new Genesis.
Barney’s Hide & Seek Game
Hear me out. Yes, it’s Barney the Dinosaur and squarely aimed at very young kids. It’s a simplistic side scroller where Barney plays hide and seek with his friends, but the game has a fairly active speedrun community, with the current World Record being set on April 4th of this year. A re-release would allow it to be played on official hardware much more easily and without resorting to third-party emulators and not-so-legal ROM downloads.
You could finally call stores and ask if they have Battletoads in stock and be somewhat sincere. Despite becoming a meme, this game is legitimately a great entry in the Genesis library.
Battletoads is an infamously difficult game to begin with, made even harder by the fact that the game has no save system nor even a password system to resume play later. While being a beat em’ up side scroller, it does have variety in level design, featuring isometric and non-isometric views. Certain segments of the game are very fast auto-scrollers, leaving the player with little time to react and an inability to stand still.
Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
Yes, it’s an Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog themed Puyo Pop, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s the only in-game appearance of characters such as Scratch, Grounder, and Coconuts, who were not made by Japanese developers. There’s also an homage to this game in Sonic Mania, where one of the early boss battles isn’t fighting one of Dr. Robotnik’s machines but beating him in a game of Mean Bean Machine.
Gunstar Heroes is a run and gun game made by Treasure, who later developed hits such as Ikaruga and Sin & Punishment. The Gunstar family had put themselves into suspended animation on the moon after a catastrophe caused by the Golden Silver Robot that destroyed civilization. During that time, an evil general attempts to revive Golden Silver, which prompts the Gunstars to stop him. This is a very fast paced action game that is extremely fun to play. It is also available on the Wii, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and 3DS eShop.
Krusty’s Super Fun House
To hell with Bad Rats for rat games. This largely forgotten game has you helping Krusty The Klown from The Simpsons in his efforts to get rid of a rat problem. This time, solving puzzles with rats is actually entertaining. The goal isn’t to outright kill the rats, but to gather objects throughout the stage and arrange them so the simple-minded rats will make their way into traps, to be taken care of by Homer, Bart, and Sideshow Mel. There are various enemies that will get in your way, and they can be defeated by throwing pies at them. Much like The Simpsons themselves, Sega had a fairly sharp decline after the 90s, making it a perfect game for a Genesis retro console in particular.
Landstalker is an isometric action RPG released in 1992. You play as Nigel, a treasure hunter that runs into a nymph named Friday, who tells him she’s being chased because she knows where a legendary treasure is located. It’s somewhere between an isometric platformer and a Zelda game. There’s interchangeable weapons and armor, puzzles, dungeons, and finding keys to progress. The game looks very strange to modern eyes, and not quite as memorable as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but it’s a fun game that was critically lauded at launch.
Bomberman ’94 (Mega Bomberman)
The only Bomberman game for the Genesis. This is actually a slightly watered-down port of a PC Engine/TurboGrafix-16 game. In addition to Bomberman being good fun, this is the first time we see the current design of Bomberman, with the white head, blue clothes, and pink hands/feet. Unfortunately, it required four players for the greatest amount of fun … and all three Genesis models only had two controller ports. When it launched, it required a pricey adapter called the Team Player. With modern wireless controls, four controllers can be used without any clunky peripherals.
Power Rangers: The Movie
There were actually four games that tied in with the movie: a different version each for the Genesis, SNES, Game Boy, and Game Gear. A beat em up game, the Genesis version is often considered the best version. Unlike the SNES version, in addition to the six Power Rangers that appear in the movie, you can also play as older rangers Trini, Zack, and Jason, whose actors had left the show due to contract disputes. This one also has battles with mecha called Zords and contains story elements from the TV show as well as the movie. This leads to an experience much closer to the TV show, with episodes ending in a mecha battle rather than endless waves of grunts and a small boss.
While very tame by modern standards, this infamous game is what ultimately led to the creation of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut infamously rallied against the Genesis version of this game in particular. Nintendo would not allow blood and violence on the SNES in the US, leading to censorship here and in Japanese games like Super Castlevania IV. The game used sprites based on the movement of real actors rather than concept artwork, adding to what was at the time more realistic.
Phantasy Star II
While most people are familiar with Phantasy Star Online, Phantasy Star actually has its origins as a turn-based RPG on the Sega Master System. Phantasy Star II is the first entry on the Genesis. Set 1000 years after the original game, the planet Algo has come under the control of a supercomputer called the Mother Brain. Under its control, life is easy and everyone’s needs are provided for. But someone eventually sabotages Mother Brain, leading to a societal upheaval. This was the first RPG released for the Genesis and at the time was the largest game on a console at six megabits.
Road Rash is a game about illegal motorcycle races. Rather than simple racing, the cyclists fight dirty. In the early levels, you can kick and punch other racers, and they’ll do the same to you. Later on, you’ll see chains being used as weapons that can hit you harder and from farther away, as well as other weapons like crowbars. If you take too much damage, you’ll fall off. The police can also catch up to you, and they’re not in the mood for a simple arrest. This is a great game that’s a nice departure from a simple racing game.
“I want that juicy Shaq meat.” —Rich Evans, RedLetterMedia
Shaq Fu is a ridiculous fighting game starring Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq walks into a dojo while on his way to a charity event in Tokyo. A martial arts master sends him into another dimension to rescue a young boy from an evil Egyptian god. This game was also released on the SNES, Game Gear, and Game Boy, but the Genesis version is considered the definitive version because it has more characters, more stages, and a longer story mode. It also has cheat codes that enable blood and Mortal Kombat-style fatalities. It’s not a game you’ll play often, but its earned it’s place in the canon of the Sega Genesis.
Boogerman: A Pick And Flick Adventure
Boogerman is one of the worst superheroes, who can only attack with flicking boogers, burps, and farts. He can also use his farts as a jetpack. The alter ego of crazy millionaire Snotty Ragsdale, he must travel through an alternate dimension called Dimension X-Crement after ruining an experimental machine. After sneezing during an experiment, a giant arm comes out of the portal and steals the machine’s generator. What follows is a toilet-themed side scroller with enemies made of snot and other bodily fluids. Toilets are used for quick transportation as warp pipes are in Mario.
In the future, the Earth is horribly polluted and is being cleaned by robots. One of the head robots, Raster, becomes corrupted when he interfaces with a nuclear weapons system, becoming Warhead. He proclaims himself a dictator and threatens humanity. Vectorman, a lowly worker robot, fights his way through Warhead’s forces. Like Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, the game utilizes pre-render graphics to create the appearance of 3D graphics even if the game itself is 2D. Through different powerups, Vectorman can change his form for a limited time, opening alternate paths on stages. Shot multipliers can also increase the mount of power in his gun. While the 3D is fake, the look of the game still holds up today, and is a very enjoyable platformer.
World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
Part of Disney’s Illusion series, this game stars Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck making their way through a magical world. While practicing for a magic act, they accidentally unleash an evil sorcerer based on frequent Disney villain Black Pete. Players can choose either character or have two players work together. The visuals are modeled after classic Disney cartoons and provide a lot of fun for all players.
Much like many games on this list, this was a game released on many systems, but the Genesis version is the definitive version. Based on the movie, Aladdin must find the mythical lamp and stop the evil Grand Vizir Jafar from conquering the city of Agrahbah and kidnapping Princess Jasmine. The game itself is largely a platformer with Aladdin wielding a sword. He can also pick up apples to throw at enemies. There are some parts of the game, such as escaping from the Cave of Wonders, that become a fast-paced autoscroller. Fans of the movie will enjoy this if they’ve never played it.
It’s a given that any mini Genesis will be loaded with Sonic games. Sega owns the rights to them with no strings, and Sonic is still popular. But of all the games released on the Genesis, Sonic 3 deserves an additional highlight. It’s the only Genesis Sonic game that allows the player to save their progress. Sonic 1, 2, Sonic & Knuckles, and Sonic 3D Blast have you start from the beginning every reset unless you use a level select code. Sonic 3 is therefore much easier for a casual player to pick up and start. This game marks the first appearance of Knuckles, who is playable when docking Sonic 3 to Sonic & Knuckles. It’s also in many ways the first real appearance of Tails. In Sonic 2, while he was playable, he could not fly and was not different from Sonic in any way. Sonic 3 gives Tails the ability to fly, opens alternate paths for him, and gives Sonic a slashing attack that can be combined with the water, fire, and lightning shields for unique attacks.
This isn’t exactly a game, but it is an idea that was way ahead of its time. In the mid-late 90s, Sega had a service that allowed you to download games into RAM via your cable connection. Unlike Sega’s other ill-fated hardware expansions, such as the 32X and Sega CD, this was far more accessible. It only required a special box with its own modem that plugged into the cartridge slot on the Genesis. Unfortunately, being saved into RAM, the games went away after the system was powered off.
So why not bring it back? There’s no technological reason to have a mini Genesis console forever confined to its pre-loaded games. Revive Sega Channel as a storefront for more games if developers decide to add games at a later point. This would be a huge advantage over the successful NES and SNES Classic Editions, which lack any official way to add additional games.
Are there any other Genesis/Mega Drive games you'd like to see on the upcoming console? Let us know in the comments.