The Games of SEGA Genesis Classics Part 2

Last week we looked at some games on the SEGA Genesis Classics collection out now on consoles.  But there were so many games on this collection, that I had to split it into two parts!  So here are the second half of the games found on this massive 16-bit collection.  Do be sure and read the first part, too, if you haven’t already!

Gunstar Heroes

Yet another Treasure game.  Run and gun stuff like Contra, but with some neat ideas and graphical effects thought not possible on the Genesis.  Some say it’s one of Treasure’s best games and one of the best games on the Genesis entirely.  While I think it is pretty good, I don’t think it’s any better than say, Contra 3 on the SNES.  Actually I think I read somewhere that before Treasure was founded, the employees worked at Konami and helped make games like Contra 3 and Super Castlevania IV.  Have you ever played the Gunstar Heroes sequel on the GBA?  I like that one because it has a lot of SEGA references to other games, like Thunder Blade, After Burner, and even Flicky!

Kid Chameleon

This is a pretty decent hop and bop platformer similar to Mario, but its story is so 90’s it’s cringe-worthy.  A virtual reality game is actually a front by aliens kidnapping kids, and it’s up to the raddest kid in town to play the game and save the day.  You can get power-ups that turn you into other things, like a sword-wielding Samurai or a cleaver chopping Jason clone.  I guess that’s where the Chameleon side of the title comes in.  It’s not a perfect 2-D platformer, but I didn’t think it was that bad either.


You play as a guy and a fairy out seeking for treasures in caves in this action puzzle adventure.  But it’s the perspective that makes the game unique, as it’s all in a 3-D isometric view.  Of course this also makes jumping onto platforms harder, as it’s hard to tell where things are in this perspective.  I think later on, they made a sequel called LadyStalker featuring a female protagonist.  Both games were made by Climax.  What else did they make?  They sound familiar.

Light Crusaders

And speaking of games with a 3-D isometric view, this one does the same thing and also plays very similar to LandStalker.  Except this one is more ‘serious’ and less cartoony.  It also controls better and plays smoother and it’s easier to tell where you are when you jump thanks to a shadow underneath you.  But this game was made by Treasure so that may be why.  I didn’t know Treasure made this game, too, so I learned something new with this collection.

Phantasy Star 2, 3, and 4

Through emulation and past collections, I’ve dabbled a bit in the Phantasy Star games before.  The first game on the Master System really blew me away graphically as it’s miles ahead from NES RPGs like Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy.  Unfortunately, the first person perspective in dungeons really turned me off of this game.  I wasn’t too much impressed with Phantasy Star 2 and 3, as I felt they really didn’t do anything better than the RPGs on the SNES at the time, like FF4 and whatnot.  But Phantasy Star 4 is a different story.  I remember when I first played this game, it felt on par with something like FF6, which is saying a lot since FF6 is one of my top five favorite games of all time.  If I had a Genesis in high school, I definitely would’ve been into this game a lot.  I wish I had more time to play it, as I feel that I could really sink my teeth into Phantasy Star 4.


So as I said earlier, back in the 16-bit days I was more of a SNES man.  And I felt that, for the most part, SNES games were better than Genesis ones.  But there were a few exceptions where a Genesis game really surprised me.  This is one of those times.  I missed out on playing it when it first came out, but I remember reading about it in magazines and people freaking out that Ristar would replace Sonic as SEGA’s mascot.  Well I kind of wish he did, because I feel that gameplay wise, Ristar is a much better game than Sonic.  You play as a star with stretchy arms that can grab onto things.  You can use your arms to defeat enemies and bypass obstacles. Graphics and sound are great, too.  I heard that the gameplay idea for Ristar is what they originally wanted to do for Sonic, but have him be a rabbit who grabs things with his ears.  This is also one of the games on this collection that you can play both the US and Japanese version, as they both have noticeable differences and changes.  Anyway, I really like this game and I even came up with an idea for a sequel, so send me a message if you want to hear my idea for it.

Shadow Dancer/Shinobi 3/The Revenge of Shinobi

This is actually 3 games, but they’re all Shinobi games and play similarly so I lumped them all into one paragraph.  Shinobi games play a lot like Rolling Thunder, just with ninjas instead of secret agents.  But as Shinobi and Rolling Thunder were developed around the same time, it’s hard to know who copied who.  That was a common practice for arcade game makers to do back then.  Sometimes SEGA copied Namco, sometimes it was the other way around.  Anyway, I’m not sure which one is Shinobi 2, Shadow Dancer or The Revenge of Shinobi.  I distinguish Shadow Dancer because in this one, Shinobi has a dog, and I remember seeing it in arcades, too.  The Revenge of Shinobi says that Yuzo Koshiro did the music for it.  However, I think Shinobi 3 is the most playable, as by that time, SEGA realized that making games for consoles is a bit different than munching quarters at an arcade.  Also in Shinobi 3, the hero has a horse.  And that’s all I have to say about Shinobi!

Shining in the Darkness

So you know how I was saying before how I didn’t like the first Phantasy Star’s first person dungeons?  Well this game is all that.  So no thank you.  And you know how I was also wondering what else Climax made besides LandStalker?  Well it looks like they made the Shining series, too!  And I can tell, as they all have a similar cartoony graphical art style.

Shining Force 1 and 2

I wonder if these were considered spin-offs of Shining in the Darkness?  They both look like early 16-bit RPGs, even though they were released later in the Genesis lifecycle.  But the battles are more strategy oriented, and remind me of Fire Emblem.  The sequel has a slightly better story and graphics, but otherwise they look the same.

Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2

While I agree that Sonic was a turning point for SEGA, I never really understood why everyone liked the first game so much.  Even back then, before it was hip to hate on Sonic.  Sure it looked better, but every time I would play it at a demo station in a store, I would think to myself, “This is better than Super Mario World…HOW?!?  The sequel was a little better, as it added Tails, my favorite Sonic character.  But it wasn’t much better.  I’m kind of surprised and disappointed they didn’t include Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles on here.  Sonic 3 is one of the few Sonic games I really like, and also one of the few times the Genesis really impressed me.

Sonic 3-D Blast

And speaking of Sonic games I really like, here’s another one.  A lot of people hate on it, but since I like Marble Madness and Flicky, and Sonic 3-D Blast basically combines those two games together, well, I like it!  The Saturn version is a little better, but the Genesis port is no slouch.  Did you know that Traveler’s Tales, the same folks who do the LEGO games, did this one, too?  Many of the tunes from the Genesis game also made it into the first Sonic Adventure!  Surprisingly, the analog stick works well on 3-D isometric games like this, LandStalker, and Light Crusaders.

Sonic Spinball

When I first played Sonic 2’s Casino Night Zone, I thought to myself, “Man, they could make a game out of this!”  And they did!  So yeah, this is another Sonic game I actually like.  Sure it’s not a good Sonic game, but it is a good video pinball game, if that makes any sense.

Space Harrier 2

I never played Space Harrier much in arcades because the bigger kids would hog the machine.  It is pretty fun to play, but it’s also arcade hard, too.  But oh my gosh this Genesis game is awful.  So choppy!

Streets of Rage 1, 2 and 3

So I think I’ve made it clear by now that I preferred the SNES over the Genesis.  It’s just my personal opinion that SNES games were better.  It doesn’t mean that I’m going to ridicule you if you liked the Genesis.  In fact, I think it’s cool that you saw something in the Genesis that I didn’t.  But as with Ristar, there were a few times that I was truly impressed with some Genesis games.  I was WAY late to the party with Streets of Rage.  In fact, I didn’t even play it until one of the early SEGA collections on the Dreamcast.  But once I did, I was blown away on how good the series is.  Streets of Rage 2 is the best, but the other games are great as well.  They certainly ripped off Final Fight, but while Final Fight failed on consoles, Streets of Rage bloomed because they made it for consoles, not arcades.  And since Yuzo Koshiro did the music, the tunes are pretty darn amazing.  You can play the Japanese versions of 2 and 3, and they’re called Bare Knuckle over there.  Can you guess who my favorite character is?

Super Thunder Blade

I remember Thunder Blade was pretty big in arcades. The Genesis version just looks horrible, but at least it plays better than Space Harrier 2.  But not by much!

Sword of Vermilion

This is an action RPG where you visit towns in an overhead perspective, but when you get out into worlds and dungeons you view things in a first person view.  But when fighting enemies, you go into a single screen top down view again to battle in real time.  It kind of reminds me of some Falcom games, just without the charm.  And hit detection is awful, so it’s needlessly hard.  You know what action RPG I wish was on this collection?  Crusade of Centy.  It’s such a Link to the Past ripoff.  I hear it’s really rare now.

Toe Jam & Earl

This game seemed really big back in the day.  I love the designs of the alien characters, like something out of a cartoon.  But boy were the colors and graphics garish.  You could tell this was made in the early 90s!  A lot of people spout how creative this game is, but if you look at it closely, it’s really just a cleverly disguised dungeon crawler.  It’s not bad, just slow.  They made a new game in the Toe Jam & Earl series on Steam a year or so ago.  I wish they’d bring it to consoles.  It looks and plays a lot like the original.

Toe Jam & Earl: Panic on Funkitron

A lot of people bashed this game because it’s such a huge departure from the first one.  While the first was a somewhat creative game, this is just another 2-D platformer.  But you know what?  I don’t think it’s THAT bad.  The animation and graphics look really nice on the Genesis, and there is some fun to be had.  The bonus stages in the new TJ&E game are based on this title.

Vectorman 1 and 2

So when Donkey Kong Country came out, SEGA had to scramble to make a game with pre-rendered graphics, too.  So they clumped a bunch of green balls together to make a human shape and called it Vectorman.  When I was a kid I just laughed at that and wondered how SEGA would think that would compete with Donkey Kong Country.  As run and gun platformers go, it’s pretty average.  I do like how the sequel has lighting effects, illuminating the dark caves in the first level when you fire your weapon or your jet boots.  Pretty neat effect for the Genesis.  Honestly, though, if I wanted to play a run and gun platformer like this, I’d just go play Earthworm Jim.

Virtua Fighter 2

You know these last few games almost didn’t make it on my list.  I didn’t notice there was a third shelf in the game room menu until I first started writing this article!  So I almost missed these!  I wonder why SEGA even bothered making a Genesis version of Virtua Fighter 2.  They took a 3-D fighter and made it 2-D, and everyone sounds like they’re underwater.  And it’s the most sluggish fighting game I’ve ever played.  Can you guess who my favorite Virtua Fighter characters are?

Wonder Boy 3: Monster Lair

The connection with Wonder Boy and Adventure Island is an interesting one.  They’re both made by the same company, but Wonder Boy sequels mostly ventured into Metroidvania territory, while Adventure Island was more straightforward platforming.  I won’t go into it anymore than that, but you can read about it on the internet if you’re still interested.  But Wonder Boy 3: Monster Lair is totally different!  It’s a side scrolling shooter, essentially.  It does have some platform elements, mostly borrowed from Wonder Boy/Adventure Island.  Like you have to make sure not to trip over rocks and eat food to fill your depleting energy bar.  But despite it being totally different, it’s still a pretty fun, arcadey kind of game.  So if you want a shooter with Adventure Island themes, here you go.

Wonder Boy in Monster World

This wasn’t the game I thought it would be, but I think I was thinking of Monster Land, not World.  I could see myself getting into this 2-D platform adventure.  It’s a lot like the Dragon’s Trap remake that came out last year that was really good.  I wish that Monster World 4 was on here.  Yeah I know it didn’t make it to the US, but man that game is good.  I can’t wait for the next Wonder Boy sequel called Monster Boy.  It should be out soon!

And that’s all the games!  Let me know what you think of this collection, and tell me your favorite Genesis games!  Later!  –Cary

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!