6 of the Best Games: Sega Megadrive

Games in my opinion that define gaming on the Sega Megadrive — also known as the Sega Genesis

The Sega Megadrive was a 16-bit cartridge based console that I used a lot while I was in a share house when studying in Brisbane— and we played it for countless hours after lectures deep into the night when I should have been typing my assignment papers on the Atari ST instead.

One of my friends was gifted the console for his 20th birthday in 1992, with Sonic the Hedgehog and a coupon to redeem for Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle. I believe this picture is what I vaguely recall the box looking like but there could have been other similar looking boxes.

The console box contents most likely had one controller, a TV aerial adapter and the power brick. After my friend finished opening it and setting it all up, he announced that he was happy for all of us to game on it — and he asked we all buy our own controller. That was a fair request given some of us were known “button bashers”.

Having access to this console also gave us the opportunity to buy — or rent from Blockbuster and Video Ezy in the early 1990s — any games we were interested in. Thinking about it, we often rented games before deciding to buy them (or sometimes not buying them at all). Sometimes if we played a game very often and went back to re-rent it out only to find someone else had rented it out before us, we would eventually go and buy it.

So after my next student pay came in, I went out and got myself the Arcade Power Stick — and I actually still have it today. After trying the demo model, I preferred using this controller because the stick was very good and it felt more responsive to me than the control pad. It cost more than double the price of the regular controller so it meant I couldn’t buy any games yet and had to play what everyone else had for a while. Ghouls’n Ghosts was almost immediately bought by one housemate and the guy who received the console also quickly bought Strider.

Eventually in the next year or so, we all together ended up buying Herzog Zwei, a 6-in-1 cartridge called Mega Games 6 (with Golden Axe and Streets of Rage), Gunstar Heroes and I myself bought NBA Jam: Tournament Edition to stop me from putting too many coins in the machine that was on campus.

We still rented games frequently as we could rent them for $5 a week and we played a lot of WWF Royal Rumble and Mutant League Football together this way.

I actually enjoyed this console so much that eventually after moving out I purchased my own console — a Sega Megadrive II — and I guess I had around 10 games to play.

In 1997 when I was living in Summer Hill in Sydney, my boxed Sega console (and my Nintendo 64 and cartridges) was stolen — and the insurance didn’t cover enough funds for me to re-buy both systems. In fact, my housemate at that time also had his Nintendo 64 stolen. The only thing not taken ironically was my Arcade Power Stick.

Eventually, I got back into collecting for the Sega Megadrive and now I have around 20 games again — so I will select six of my favorite games that I have play/own and to me are still fantastic to play:

1. Sonic The Hedgehog

The fast-paced game with Sonic, a lightning fast blue hedgehog as the main character and his efforts at preventing the evil Dr. Robotnik from mechanizing the world. The colorful graphics, catchy theme tunes, and challenging levels makes this one of my favorite games ever. I like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as well but the original has the most sentimental value to me.

2. The Punisher

The Punisher is a former Vietnam veteran whose family was murdered in a random and senseless killing. He now devotes his time solely to killing any criminal he comes across. This would be in my Six of the Best 2D beat-em games were I to write that article and it is a game I still enjoy playing today. You can pick up items like baseball bats, knives and guns to assist you as well as thankfully being able to restore your health by breaking objects open and consuming any found food.

3. Prince of Persia

This is, in my opinion, one of the most intuitive platform games ever made. You play as a young Arabian hero, you must rescue the sultan’s daughter from a forced marriage as she is your true love. Once aware you are going to attempt to save her, you are imprisoned inside the deepest dungeon in the palace. You will need to escape, fight guides, dodge traps and solve puzzles before your final encounter with Vizer. Great game still and I might even prefer this version to the original Apple II game.

4. Aladdin

My pick for Disney platform games, you play as Aladdin who discovers a magical lamp that leads him on all sorts of adventures. Based around the same Disney movie, you will need to complete tasks and puzzles to successfully complete this platform game. It actually plays very well so don’t write it off because it’s a Disney game.

5. Ghouls’n Ghosts

Ghouls’n Ghosts is similar Ghosts’n Goblins, where you control the knight Arthur, who must advance through a series of levels and defeat a number of undead creatures in his quest. To defeat the game, Arthur must complete levels 1 to 5 twice, before the final battle with Lucifer. Tough as nails.

6. NBA Jam: Tournament Edition

Probably the best known arcade basketball game, NBA Jam is still great to play even today. Even though this game has been reduced graphically and sound-wise compared to the arcade version — probably to fit it onto the cartridge format — it still permitted up to 4 people to play at the one time (with the appropriate adapters of course). With outrageous plays and dunks, the game maintains its play ability still and is easily one of the best casual sports titles out there.

Other Great Sega Megadrive Games

I am sure my top 6 list is going to disagree with yours because there were so many good titles available for this system. Mutant League Football and Shining in the Darkness were very close to making my top 6, but here are some more games in alphabetical order that I recommend for this system:

  • Aero the Acrobat 2
  • Alien Storm
  • Altered Beast
  • Castle of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse
  • Castlevania: The New Generation
  • Devil Crash MD
  • Dick Tracy
  • Gauntlet 4
  • General Chaos
  • Golden Axe
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Herzog Zwei
  • Lemmings
  • Mega Turrican
  • Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker
  • Mortal Combat
  • Musha Aleste
  • Mutant League Football
  • NHL ‘94
  • Pebble Beach Golf Links
  • Phantom 2040
  • Revenge of Shinobi
  • Ristar
  • Road Rash 2
  • Rocket Knight Adventures
  • Rolling Thunder 2
  • Shining Force 2
  • Shining in the Darkness
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 3
  • Sonic and Knuckles
  • Space Harrier II
  • Street Fighter Championship Edition
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • ToeJam and Earl
  • Thunder Force IV
  • Wimbledon Championship Tennis
  • Wonder Boy in Monster World
  • World Cup 94
  • WWF Royal Rumble

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