One of the things I got for Christmas was a new game console. Was it the Xbox One or the PS4? Nope, it was a new SEGA Genesis. Huh? What is this, 1990? Nope, this is a real working SEGA Genesis with 80 games built in. So I thought I’d do short review of the console itself and the games that are on it. So let’s begin!
One thing that surprised me is just how small it is. It can fit in your hand! But even though it has pre-packed games on it, you can still put Genesis cartridges in it, and I even see controller ports, too, so you should be able to use plug-in controllers as well. The set comes with two wireless controllers, but you have to make sure they are facing the console directly or they won’t work.
The main problem I have with this console is the sound. I don’t know if they couldn’t get the emulation right or what, but the music in the games seems a little off. Like it’s playing in a lower key and some of the channels don’t sound as loud. It’s not noticeable in games that I’m not as familiar with, but for titles like Ristar and Streets of Rage 2, oh the music is so awful on this console! I don’t know if there is a way I can fix that. I’m kind of a stickler for the sound to be just right in a game port. I even had a hard time playing the GBA port of Final Fantasy 6 because the music was a little off on that.
I could foresee little kids having fun with this console, though. I imagine the music wouldn’t bother them any. Plus it’s cheap and easy to hook up (except parents may need to help putting the batteries in the controllers). But otherwise, you may be better off getting one of the Genesis collections on CD for the big consoles. Anyway, let’s take a look at the games on this Genesis console. There are so many we’ll need to do them in two parts. So let’s go!
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
I’m not a big fan of Alex Kidd. I’ve never played a good one. It’s no wonder Mario beat him out in the 8-bit 2-D platform wars. Alex Kidd was SEGA’s mascot for a while. Even on a more powerful console, his game is still awful.
I don’t really like the gameplay much, but this game cracks me up anyway. I think it’s funny when your guy gets a power-up and grows muscles and yells out “Power Up” in a booming voice.
Because of the generic title, I always forget about this game, but I do remember playing it on one of the Genesis collections. It’s actually a better game that what I think it is. It’s a 2-D side scrolling beat ‘em up where you fight off aliens invading Earth. There are other sections to add variety to the gameplay, like areas that resemble first person gun shooting games. And there are sections that are like 2-D shooters where you run REALLY FAST. Seriously, if you could run that fast in the game all the time, you’d make it to the last boss in less than a minute!
This is a generic 2-D horizontally scrolling shooter. You can change from a ship to a mech guy, but I don’t know what good that does you. It makes me wonder if this is a sequel to the Master System game Transbot, because that’s what it reminds me of. I wish Gaiares was on this console, that’s my favorite Genesis shooter.
Oh man, I love Bonanza Bros.! I used to play it all the time in the arcade. You are a robber and must steal treasures from houses and museums and sneak around guards. I love the simplistic graphics style, and the Genesis version even has special levels where you steal artifacts based on classic SEGA titles! I thought it was cool that the Bonanza Bros. returned in Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing.
Just kind of your standard 2-D hack & slash. You play an immortal guy with two swords fighting off monsters. The game is hard because you have a double jump, but it’ll only work at the highest point of your jump.
Columns 1 & 3
Back when Tetris first came out and was huge, everyone had to have a ‘shapes falling down a well’ puzzler. Columns was SEGA’s entry. Was there ever a Columns 2? I don’t know. Not really one of my favorite puzzlers, but not bad either.
This came out late in the Genesis’ life cycle and was ahead of its time. Viewtiful Joe owes everything to this game. Only problem is Comix Zone is way too hard.
This is a weird top-down game where half of the screen is a map, a fourth has text with mission objectives, and the other fourth shows the gameplay. You have to shoot enemies and plant bombs in certain spots to make it to the exit.
In Japan, this was actually a cutesy game starring a wizard who could throw her hat. And I think it was based on an anime. But when they ported it to the US, they changed it to a spooky horror theme where you throw your head instead. And it plays just like two earlier 8-bit titles: Psycho Fox on Master System and Kid Kool on NES.
Of course, there are a lot of Sonic games on here. Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is just Puyo Puyo, and I prefer the SNES Kirby’s Avalanche version. You also have Sonic 1, 2, and Knuckles on here, but no Sonic 3? Why is that? Maybe because it was a battery save game? Who knows? Shame because I actually kind of like Sonic 3. Speaking of Sonic games I like, Sonic 3-D Blast is on here, and I like that one because it’s like a cross between Flicky and Marble Madness. And finally, we have Sonic Spinball. I like that one, too, because I like pinball.
Ecco 1, 2, and Jr.
I never had a Genesis as a kid, and usually I was pretty happy with my SNES. But when the Ecco games came out, I so wanted to play them since you were a dolphin. But years later, when I finally got to play them, I was disappointed because they were rather difficult games and the goals and objectives were very unclear. Surprisingly, my favorite of the bunch is Ecco Jr. It’s not as hard and frustrating, and has all sorts of interesting facts about dolphins and sea life. One thing the Genesis did better than the SNES sometimes is they had more games geared toward little kids that were actually halfway decent.
In this Rolling Thunder clone, you play as a cop who is supposed to be futuristic but he didn’t look all that advanced to me. I’m not really very good at Rolling Thunder games, so I did not get very far in this one.
I don’t think this was on any previous Genesis collections on CD. You can tell this came out during the Street Fighter 2 craze. SEGA was smart, though, as they made this game not based on any arcade game, but catering instead to the Genesis’ strengths. As an early one on one fighter, it’s pretty slow and difficult, but there are some interesting characters. My favorite is a circus acrobat lady named Jetta.
This is a dungeon crawl RPG similar to the Mystery Dungeon titles. Not horrible, but kind of bland.
I love this game! Originally an arcade title, then ported very well to the Genesis, you guide a bird as he leads baby chicks to a door while avoiding cats. It kind of reminds me of Mappy for some reason. Flicky is one of SEGA’s long time mascots. Flicky can still be found in modern day Sonic games, too!
This is actually an interesting idea. It’s like Ikari Warriors, but the action takes place on a single screen and you have to make it to the exit, usually at the top. You can rescue characters and if you can carry them to the exit, you can use that character in the next round.
Golden Axe 1, 2, & 3
As 2-D side scrolling beat em ups go, I don’t think the Golden Axe games have aged very well. But the fantasy Conan-like motif sets them apart, and they’re still pretty fun little time wasters. I always like to play as either Tyris Flare or the dwarf.
Yet another beat em up platformer. You use two buttons to punch with your left and right hand. One delivers a fire punch and the other does something I have no idea what it is. Turns you to ice or makes a web around you or something. And the game is more hard than fun anyway.
As a 2-D hop and bop platformer, this game really isn’t THAT bad. Not great, but still kind of fun. Interesting power-ups, too. The virtual reality storyline is SO early 90’s, though.
Now I LOVE this game. I even like it better than Sonic games. It was actually what Sonic was meant to be anyway. Early concepts of the first Sonic game had a rabbit who would grab things with his ears, and that’s what Ristar does with his stretchy arms. This is one of my most favorite Genesis games. I wish they’d bring him back. I’m so disappointed that the music doesn’t sound as good on this little console because that’s one of the best things about this game.
Hey it’s a Shinobi game…I think. One thing I like about this one is that you have a white dog that follows you around, but he doesn’t do much besides bark at enemies sometimes. I always forget how much the old Shinobi games are like Rolling Thunder. Guess Namco copied SEGA or vice versa. They did that a lot back then.
I kind of like this one better, but both are really hard. Which Shinobi game did Yuzo Koshiro do the music for?
Streets of Rage 1, 2, & 3
These are some of the best side scrolling beat em ups on the Genesis, and even rival greats like Final Fight (even if they do rip it off a bit). I especially like 2 and 3. Yuzo Koshiro did the music for these games, and they’re some of the best sounding games on that console. That’s another reason why I hate that this new Genesis’ sound isn’t as good. I always play as Blaze in the games for some reason.
I don’t remember ever playing this one. It has an interesting premise, but it’s not executed very well. You play a green blob who goes around spitting slime at enemies in this top down game. Supposedly, you can make yourself grow bigger by collecting pieces of ooze, but it’s hard to tell when you take damage from something.
Vectorman 1 & 2
These run and gun platformers used pre-rendered graphics to try and compete with the visuals found in Donkey Kong Country, but I think they failed miserably. Plus the games aren’t very much fun. If I want to play a run and gun platformer, I’d rather play something like Mega Man X or Earthworm Jim.
Virtual Fighter 2
I guess at some point, SEGA ported this to the Genesis but had to make it a 2-D fighter. Which kind of defeats the purpose since the draw of Virtua Fighter is that it is in 3-D. My favorite VF characters are Jeffry, Sarah Bryant, and Vanessa Lewis.
Stay Tuned for Part 2
And that’s all for now. Later on this weekend, I’ll post the other half of the games found on this console. They’re not what you might think they are, though! Later! –Cary