This year, 2020, is the 31st anniversary of the arrival of this classic console to the American continent, and at POPULAR we decided to pay tribute to it by remembering its best titles, from minor to major. Welcome to the best Sega Genesis games of all time.
- The 50 Best Sega Genesis Games Ever
- 50. Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage
- 49. Road Rash 2
- 48. Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster’s Hidden Treasure
- 47. Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
- 46. Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker
- 45. Cool Spot
- 44. Shining Force II
- 43. Against: Hard Corps
- 42. Toejam & Earl
- 41. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
- 40. Vectorman
- 39. Castlevania: Bloodlines
- 38. Golden Axe
- 37. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
- 36. Batman: The Video Game
- 35. Ghostbusters
- 34. Pele
- 33. Altered Beast
- 32. Tecmo Cup Football Game
- 31. Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II
- 30. Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing
- 29. Battletoads
- 28. Gaiares
- 27. Rolling Thunder II
- 26. Ren & Stimpy: Stimpy’s Invention
- 25. Toy Story
- 24. Turtles in Time
- 23. Booger Man: A Pick and Flick Adventure
- 22. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
- 21. Micro Machines 96
- 20. FIFA 97
- 19. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
- 18. Streets of Rage 2
- 17. Disney’s Aladdin
- 16. Tiny Toon Adventures: ACME All-Stars
- 15. X-Men 2: Clone Wars
- 14. Sonic and Knuckles
- 13. Super Street Fighter II
- 12. Rock N’ Roll Racing
- 11. Jungle Strike
- 10. Sonic the Hedgehog
- 9. FIFA ’94
- 8. Virtual Bart
- 7. OutRun
- 6. Earthworm Jim
- 5. Dragon Ball Z: Buyuu Retsuden
- 4. International Superstar Soccer Deluxe
- 3. Mortal Kombat II
- 2. NBA Jam
- 1. Comix Zone
The 50 Best Sega Genesis Games Ever
We include, as usual, the best of Sega games as a list, in this case it’s a top, we go from the worst to the best. All these games represent pure nostalgia (for me).
50. Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage
Beat ’em up where we could control both Spider-Man and Venom, with the aim of stopping Carnage.
49. Road Rash 2
The second installment of this game (not much different from the first) made multiplayer racing fun.
48. Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster’s Hidden Treasure
Buster has to defeat Max Montana, recover a hidden treasure and rescue Babs Bunny – how? By taking the best of Super Mario and Sonic, along with incredible graphics.
47. Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
Free remake of the arcade game Shadow Dancer. As in the original game, the player controls a ninja accompanied by his faithful dog.
46. Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker
Based on the film Moonwalker, we followed Michael, using his music and characteristic dance steps to save the kidnapped children from the hands of the evil “Mr. Big”.
45. Cool Spot
The 7-Up “mascot” game was an exception to the games promoted by some famous brands to take advantage of the furore of video games and thus impose their products. This type of initiative produced rather boring results. This was not the case with Cool Spot, which had high levels of graphics, sound and gameplay.
44. Shining Force II
Excellent RPG that flowed much better than the first delivery, with better graphics and better strategies. To spend hours and hours fighting with monsters and ghosts.
43. Against: Hard Corps
The most beloved of the Contra saga. Why? Because it allowed you to choose characters, alternative paths (which might not have happy endings) and presented really scary villains.
42. Toejam & Earl
A two-player adventure in which we had to escape from the Earth, finding the parts of a ship, before its inhabitants killed the protagonists.
41. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
The UMK 3, had new special moves, such as projectiles or combos for each character. To the fatalities and babalities were added the brutalities and animalities. Who didn’t memorize the A, C, up, B, up, B, A, down?
A classic that to its simple gameplay, added one of the best designs (previously rendered 3D models were used, giving a sense of 3D gameplay in a 2D plane, something rare in these consoles) both graphically and sound to generate an atmosphere out of the ordinary for the time.
39. Castlevania: Bloodlines
The only game in the Castlevania saga designed for a Sega platform. All of the adventures in the previous installments took place in or near Dracula’s castle. What was unique about Bloodlines was that we were facing a journey around the world in the place where the King of the Vampires would be reborn.
38. Golden Axe
A barbarian warrior, a dwarf and an Amazon were fighting (each with their own particular characteristics) against the troops of the evil Death Adder. One of the high points of this 1989 classic was that we could “steal” the animals/creatures from our enemies and handle them.
37. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
The first game in Sega’s long series of Illusion video games starring Mickey took us into a fantasy world with enchanted objects and a Minnie kidnapped by the evil witch Mizrabel.
36. Batman: The Video Game
One of the best games ever made about Gotham’s superhero. True to Tim Burton’s film in both its atmosphere and its storyline, it reached the height of entertainment when we drove the Batmobile.
Ghostbusters as a video game franchise never had the same impact as its film branch. This was because the games are from regular to bad. It wasn’t until the Sega Genesis Ghostbusters that fans had a video game worthy of this pop classic.
It’s not even close to one of the great soccer games that could be found on this console. We included it in the ranking because it had a feature that set it apart from any other: it was practically impossible to score a goal.
33. Altered Beast
This arcade classic found in its Sega Genesis version its best playability edition. Altered Beast was one of the games that accompanied the release of the console.
32. Tecmo Cup Football Game
One of those weird Sega games. The video game that followed Robert’s story, the blonde Oliver Atom, was never released and could be played on pirate versions or PC emulators.
31. Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II
Senna lent more than his name to Super Monaco GP II (something that was very common in the nineties). In this game, he offered advice on how to tackle each track, with voiceovers played during each race, and even contributed to the design of the circuits.
30. Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing
A great boxing simulator. We could create our own fighter and start a career mode to be the world champion, training between fights to improve our speed, strength, endurance or defense.
One of the hardest games in history. Many stages and a complex gameplay that, from the third level, tests the tenacity and patience of the player.
The shoot-em-up genre’s driver presented a speed of play and difficulty superior to any of its peers. A typical shoot-em-up game, humble and powerful that put all the attention in generating more and more difficult levels.
27. Rolling Thunder II
The best thing about this “throw and run” game is that the action – not overwhelming as in Contra or Alien Soldier – becomes more tactical, taking advantage of spaces to hide and act stealthily.
26. Ren & Stimpy: Stimpy’s Invention
This game faithfully captured the spirit of the animated series, specifically based on the episode where Stimpy invented a “happiness machine”. The highlight of this game was the cooperative multiplayer option and the great frustration comes with its short duration.
25. Toy Story
It followed the storyline of the first film in the saga using platform, first-person, driving and timekeeping resources. With a difficulty of acceptable for up, it was a great way to revive this animation classic.
24. Turtles in Time
There are two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games that franchise fans always rate as the best two: Turtles in Time and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist. In this list we chose Turtles in Time because it has more levels and a higher difficulty level.
23. Booger Man: A Pick and Flick Adventure
Running, jumping and letting out the occasional gas. You can also throw snot or burp on our enemies. Not as renowned as Earthworm Jim, but with a design just as unique that makes it one of those strangely fun video games.
22. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Class B horror movies made into video games. The goal: rescue ten neighbors before the zombies eat them. For this we are armed to the teeth with a variety of weapons. A classic that works in all its aspects: design, music, controls. But most of all: difficulty. For many people it should be higher in this ranking, but the world is very unfair.
21. Micro Machines 96
Anything can happen at the gates of the Top 20, and there will surely be approval and disagreement with the classics we include in that select group. The Micro Machines Turbo Tournament 96, one of the funniest racing games of all time, came in 21st place. A game that could give months and months of fun, either completing all the races and challenging or editing our own circuits.
20. FIFA 97
The fourth instalment of FIFA changed several things. And it did so with “showbol”, before Maradona and other former players made it popular. The indoor stadium was a novelty that brought a breath of fresh air to football games. Fewer players, different rules, and pure speed play.
19. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Incredible in almost every technical aspect: graphic design, soundtrack, difficulty. One of the best multiplayer modes you can find in Sega Genesis. The basis of the game is exploration. Dinosaurs all behave differently. We can drive airboats or 4×4. Savage by any standards.
18. Streets of Rage 2
In the golden age of beat ’em up, the Streets of Rage was king. And the second installment of the saga was improving in almost every way. Better graphics, more complete levels, more detailed character design. And we didn’t need the help of the police anymore, because our characters had a special beat ’em up.
17. Disney’s Aladdin
The music, the level designs, the difficulty of the game, make Aladdin the best movie game. Following the plot of the film, we guide Aladdin through 10 levels full of enemies, traps and more traps to rescue Princess Jasmine from Jafar’s evil clutches. The highlight: when we escape the lava by flying on our magic carpet.
16. Tiny Toon Adventures: ACME All-Stars
A sports game with the Tiny Toon characters. Nothing can go wrong. And nothing does. Pure fun whether it’s in story mode or playing each sport separately. Football, basketball, running, bowling and a whack a mole where we have to beat Max Montana. A great game to challenge someone.
15. X-Men 2: Clone Wars
X-Men 2 hit you in the face immediately. We’d turn on the console, put the cartridge in, the license information would appear, and you’d have to duck to avoid the first shot. Cold, hard opening. We’d take control of a random character and start surviving. After the first level we could select our favorite mutant from Beast, Cyclops, Gambit, Nightcrawler, Psylocke or Cheetah. And after completing the third level we could control the great Magneto.
14. Sonic and Knuckles
Sonic & Knuckles, launched in 1994, was the last installment of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog saga for Sega. The first and only Genesis game to use “Lock-On” technology, which, through a second slot at the top, incorporated into the cartridge itself, allowed a second connection. By connecting the Sonic 3 cartridge to the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge, a more complete video game called Sonic 3 & Knuckles appeared.
13. Super Street Fighter II
The best game in the Street Fighter series. The classic game of Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li was greatly improved with the addition of new fighters: DeeJay, FeiLong, Cammy and T.Hawk. There were also better graphics, more attacks and an increase in the speed of the game that took it to another level of playability. How likely is it that walking down the street you’ll pass someone who throws a goal to the scream of “Hadouken! A lot of odds.
12. Rock N’ Roll Racing
The dark side to Nintendo’s Mario Kart. The overall structure was similar: four-vehicle races where you could leave traps or shoot at rivals. We could improve our car in different features to face increasingly demanding races. But what makes this game an all-time classic is the soundtrack: “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, “Peter Gunn” by Henry Mancini, “Highway Star” by Deep Purple, “Radar Love” by Golden Earring, “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf and “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood. The most resounding example of how rock and video games go hand in hand.
11. Jungle Strike
Jungle Strike was the sequel to Desert Strike, that action game where we controlled a helicopter and solved a series of complex missions. In this second game, everything improved: the graphics, the missions, the terrain to explore and the sounds (the helicopter blades sounded as real as the missiles). The plot of the game might sound a little stigmatising: the son of a terrible dictator was associated with a South American drug lord to dominate the world.
10. Sonic the Hedgehog
The Blue Hedgehog was born in 1991 to compete against Mario, the titan of Nintendo. And he made it. Sonic came along and changed everything. Obviously, in a supersonic way. Never before has there been a game with such speed, such vividly coloured stage design, and such fluid gameplay. It’s definitely one of the great classics of all time. It’s fair to say that its successor, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, exceeded it in almost every aspect, but to start this top 10 we wanted to honour the original Sega mascot.
9. FIFA ’94
In 1993 – with the World Cup in the United States approaching – FIFA took a step forward in terms of football games. The workhorse was to be able to play the tournament equivalent to the World Cup, choosing the length of the matches (from 2 minutes to 45 minutes per time), the type of pitch (artificial, natural, dry, warm, wet or damp), whether the players were tired or the manual or semi-automatic goalkeeper. It also had multiple tactical variants and the possibility of choosing the starting 11.
During the games there were two situations that aroused mixed emotions. The first one was the “unsportsmanlike” mark of the goalkeeper when he took the ball out and stole it with his head, a situation that due to its lack of fair play generated tense moments among the players. The second, an indelible mark in the history of football games: at the moment of a card we could run all over the court escaping from the referee.
8. Virtual Bart
This installment related to The Simpsons had little to do with the plot of the series and little of “virtual reality”, except to justify the story it tells: Bart was testing a VR machine made by Martin. But it did have a lot of dirty, sinister fun. Six mini-games. The schizoid Dino-Bart. The Baby-Bart jumping through the branches. The Pig-Bart at Krusty’s Slaughterhouse. The Waterslide.
The race in the middle of the nuclear holocaust. And the most fun of all: Tomato Doom. There are two options for the game: story mode and practice area, which allowed you to choose directly the one of throwing tomatoes at the door of the school. For many people this game has a place that it should not have in the ranking, but as this is subjective, we decided to give it this space because of the amount of hours dedicated to throwing and throwing tomatoes and eggs. Nobility obliges, it has one of the worst endings in history.
One of the most addictive racing games in history for two main reasons. The first one: you didn’t compete against other rivals, you competed against the clock. The second one: the forks, that is, we chose the route until we reached the finish line. A kind of interactive racing game. The path was divided in two and depending on the choice, the route, the difficulty level of the races and the sequence of the end were modified. This combo gave a plus to the game: a great level of repetition to improve times and to know the other paths. It’s worth mentioning that everything was on top of a Ferrari convertible and in heavenly places. A jewel that transcends time.
6. Earthworm Jim
A worm being our hero, made this game out of the ordinary. Added to a delirious aesthetic – with some similarities to the cartoons of the early nineties – that drew attention to the first eye contact and its labyrinthine levels full of riddles prepared us to make a refrigerator fall on a branch so that a cow would fly away something normal. One of the high points was the space race in front of our enemy Psy-Crow, where we dodged asteroids in a tunnel through hyperspace. Every element of Earthworm Jim is marked by a psychedelic design, with the soundtrack standing out, especially the second level What the Heck? which could be described as a mix of Zappa, classical music and screams of various kinds.
5. Dragon Ball Z: Buyuu Retsuden
The 1990s was the golden age of Dragon Ball and this game lived up to it. The only game in the series for SEGA. And there was no need for another one. It didn’t matter that the menu was in Japanese and nothing was understood. The idea was to “hit” the story mode or the vs mode and choose from the eleven warriors: Goku, Vegeta, Trunks, Gohan, Piccoro, No. 18, Freezer, Cell, Captain Ginyu and Reecome and Krillin.
When it comes to the design, both of the settings (the writer’s favourite: Namekusei dying) and the characters, it’s perfect. Each fighter had a wide range of hits and attacks, with the “deadly attacks” on the split screen being the most important. If we found the story mode, each hero had his own plot which invited to want to make the journey with each one. A classic in the collection of every kid who stood in front of the mirror, raised his arms and threw a Genki-lady who knows what or who.
4. International Superstar Soccer Deluxe
Today it’s FIFA vs. PES. Before, it was FIFA vs. ISSD. And if FIFA has the advantage today, in 1995 it was losing by quite a lot of distance. What were the reasons that made ISSD the best football game of SEGA? The mixture of realism with cartoons, players much more stylized and with own features, the dynamics and the speed of the matches, the animations for everything (goals, corners, changes) and the options of game: exhibition, world cup, league, penalties or training.
It didn’t matter that it didn’t have real players. Who didn’t take care of Redonda, Capitale, Fuerte, Carboni, Galfano, Murillo, Allejo, Beranco, Van Wijk, Levesque? Not so long ago Konami confessed that each of these players was inspired by the figures of the time (For example: Redonda was Maradona, Capitale was Batistuta and Fuerte was Caniggia). As with every football game, once you got a grip on it, the computer was no match. But if someone in our environment was competitive, there was no way the games could not be intense and addictive. Plan for this Saturday night: ISSD tournament.
3. Mortal Kombat II
We pulled out the hardest part. I’m sure the few who have made it this far wonder how this or that game is not there. They are. One is this. The best fighting game ever. The MK2. The second installment of the goose that lays the golden eggs. The success of MK (the one with digitized flesh and blood actors) didn’t stop Midway, who decided to go for more, much more. More violence, more blood (much more blood), more characters, more scenarios.
New modes of fatalities (Babality or Friendship, for example). Baraka, Mileena, Kitana, Kung Lao, among others, join the repertoire of fighters. These were also actors, as in MK1, but photographed movement by movement and then digitized (stop motion). Anyone who in the nineties could buy the SEGA, the first game they bought, was surely this one. A classic that transcends consoles, that was recorded in history as one of the best games of all times.
2. NBA Jam
Silver medal for THE sports game. When the competition was who was doing “the most realistic sports game,” the creators of the NBA Jam saw that there was congestion that way, turned around, and faced the other way. How many players play in a regular basketball game? 5 against 5. Okay, let’s do a 2 against 2, hyper speed, with the best pairs from each team. There was no Michael Jordan, OK. But there was Reggie Miller, Isiah Thomas, Pippen, Ewing, Larry Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kemp, Mutombo, Olajuwon, Divac and the Stockton-Malone duo.
We chose our favorite duo and who we controlled manually. No referees, no fouls, no free throws. Pure run and gun. The idea was to try and jump higher, to put a cover on or grab a bounce, to steal the ball with a proper punch or just a push. Once we had the orange, we’d run and pull in threes, twos and fly through the air to tip over spectacularly while listening to “Boomshakalaka! And there’s nothing better than putting several baskets with our player and waiting for the sacred mantra to fall: “He’s on fire!
1. Comix Zone
With you, NUMBER 1. The ultimate adventure. A Beat ’em Up masterpiece that took the technical capabilities of Genesis to the extreme. What was this gem about? Sketch Turner was working on his new comic book, called ‘Comix Zone’ ( the story of how the New World Empire tries to defend the Earth from an invasion of strange aliens ), when a lightning strike hits the comic book. At that moment, the main villain of Comix Zone, the powerful mutant Mortus, manages to escape from the pages, sending Sketch into the world of his own comic book.
Purely class-B movies. The key word for analyzing the technical aspects is: revolutionary. In its characters, in the animations, in the gameplay and control of our hero, in the color palette of the scenarios, in the soundtrack. Innovative from every point of view. As we jump from cartoon to cartoon, the difficulty increases, the enemies become stranger and harder to beat. But our friend was always with us: Roadkill.
The little rat is the key to getting through this masterpiece, as he served to discover secret elements, hidden passages, or to trigger mechanisms. And where many great works make water -of the end we speak- Comix Zone does not disappoint either, offering three endings depending on the previous choices. Our number 1 is one of the most original proposals in the world of videogames. And there is no doubt that if you catch it today on an old console, or on some emulator, you will feel what so many people felt back in the nineties.
I hope you liked this top with what I consider the best genesis games. As always this is a very particular list of video games and based totally on the nostalgia and emotion that these games gave me as a child. Contact me at email@example.com and send me what you consider your top sega genesis games. Regards
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