Here you will find my brief reviews of Sega Genesis games, along with a rating from 1 to 10. A rating of 9-10 indicates a great game; 7-8 is a good game; 5-6 is a mediocre game; 3-4 is a poor game; and 1-2 is a horrible game. At the bottom of the page can be found my Top 10 list.
Take control of an F-14 fighter known as the Skycat in this shooting game. Even though it's played from a third-person (behind the jet) perspective, the whole screen tilts when you turn. That makes it a bit awkward and hard to aim your guns, but it's not a major problem once you get accustomed to it. There is another quirk about the shooting: You don't need to press any buttons to shoot; your guns shoot automatically and continuously. The B button is used for firing missiles, while A and C are used to speed up and slow down, respectively. The game has 23 levels, with an average length of less than two minutes each. (Some last only a few seconds). But despite being short, the game still provides a formidable challenge. Unfortunately, the gameplay is dull. Destroying enemy jets and helicopters is optional. The game is really just about dodging enemy missiles and gunfire until you reach the end. There's no real excitement here.
This platformer is based on the Disney movie of the same name. As Aladdin, you have to make your way through ten side-scrolling levels in an attempt to rescue Princess Jasmine. The graphics and animation are excellent and really bring the movie to life. You attack enemies by swinging your sword or by throwing apples, which you can pick up along the way. The first half of the game is rather dull, but the best levels come later--including a flying carpet ride that gets insanely fast as the level progresses, and a very creative level that takes place inside the Genie's lamp. Aladdin is a solid game overall, but a few boring levels keep the game from greatness.
This side-scrolling action game was the original pack-in game included with the Genesis. You have been summoned by Zeus to rescue his daughter Athena. At first you can only punch and kick enemies, but you can collect power-ups that transform you into a beast that has new powers. The controls are stiff and enemies get in a lot of cheap hits that you can't avoid, which makes it somewhat frustrating. The game is also quite short--it has only five brief levels. Overall, Altered Beast is a fairly dull game.
This side-scrolling action game is based on the 1989 film of the same name. As the Dark Knight, you will use your fists and batarangs to fight off the Joker's minions. There are also two shooting levels, one which has you driving the Batmobile and one that has you flying the Batwing. For the most part, the bosses are surprisingly easy if you've saved your batarangs for the end of each level. Contrary to popular opinion, this is not a port of the NES game; it is completely different. This game is a bit less challenging than the NES game, but also a bit less enjoyable. But it still provides some fun gameplay, and it is one of the better Batman games around.
This is a slightly better than average college football game. It uses the same game engine found in the Madden games, so it has similar gameplay yet doesn't seem quite as fun. And surprisingly enough, I actually like some of the music in this game. It's better than the music typically found in most sports games.
This is a side-scrolling action game from Konami. You can play as one of two characters: John Morris, who uses a whip, or Eric Lecarde, who uses a spear. You'll journey through six levels as you make your way across Europe, leading up to a final battle with Dracula. Unfortunately, the music is a bit disappointing when compared to other games in the series. Bloodlines isn't the best Castlevania game ever made, but it's still a quality game.
This college football game from EA Sports has over 100 teams to choose from. The gameplay is similar to that of the Madden games, although the action in this game seems to run slower and not as smoothly. The control isn't quite as sharp, either. College Football USA 96 is a decent sports game, but overall the Madden games are better.
In this puzzle game, columns of colored jewels fall from the top of the screen. Your job is to arrange these columns so that jewels of the same color line up horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. When this happens, those jewels disappear and points are scored. By placing your pieces right, you can create chain reactions of matching jewels for big points. The game features relaxing music that plays during the game. Columns isn't as complex or addicting as some puzzle games, but it does provide some simple entertainment for one or two players.
This pinball game features three Motley Crue tunes: Dr. Feelgood, Live Wire, and Home Sweet Home. You can listen to them on the music demo screen, but oddly enough they rarely play during the game (only in mini-games). Most of the time, you'll just hear some generic-sounding rock music that isn't as good. As the for the game itself, it's just average. It's not a bad pinball game, but it isn't especially fun to play.
Choose one of three dinosaurs (each equipped with a huge gun) and hit the streets in this Contra style platform/shooter. My biggest complaint is that you can't shoot enemies that are real close to your character. You can still defeat them with a close range attack, but being able to shoot them would have been a better solution. There are also some occasional hit detection problems, where you get hit even though it looks like you're safe. Throw in some cheap hits and it sounds like a very flawed game. And indeed, I didn't like the game much when I first played it. But as I progressed through the levels, the game grew on me quite a bit. Many of the levels are well designed and the game is surprisingly enjoyable, despite its flaws.
This football game is best known for its live play-by-play, which was the first of its kind back in 1991. It also featured a unique zoom feature that gives a close-up view of the player with the ball. Unfortunately, the gameplay isn't as revolutionary. The controls are a little sluggish and they feel loose. The artificial intelligence isn't any better, as the computer does absurd things at times. There are also some software bugs, including one I've seen where the ball was placed on the 16-yard line even though the punt returner was just tackled at midfield.
This is a good, solid football game from Electronic Arts. It lacks some of the features that were added to later Madden games, but the gameplay is essentially the same. It has good control and it's a lot of fun to play against the computer or against a friend.
This is an action/platform game based on the Disney movie of the same name. The graphics and sound are excellent and true to the movie. Unfortunately, the controls aren't as stellar; they're unresponsive at times and it's often hard to get Simba to do what you want him to do. And despite being based on a children's movie, this game is very challenging and many levels are quite frustrating. There are cheap hits galore from falling rocks, monkeys, bats, and other pesky critters. Some parts of Lion King are certainly fun--but on the whole, the frustrating gameplay drags the game down.
This action/puzzle game lets you play as three Vikings who have been abducted by an evil alien tomato. In every level, you'll need to use each Viking's unique abilities: Erik can run fast and jump; Baleog can attack with a sword or bow and arrows; and Olaf can use a shield to block enemies or safely float down from tall heights. The three Vikings are supposedly aged 19-25, but they all look like middle-aged men. There are puzzles to solve, but the emphasis is on the action. The controls are rather cumbersome, with all six buttons of the six-button controller being used (plus the "mode" switch). Playing with a standard three-button controller requires multi-button commands (such as Start + C to use an item), and isn't recommended. But if you have a six-button game pad, The Lost Vikings provides a good time for those who like platformers with a little strategy thrown in.
This is one of the better football games I've played. It has a full season mode, battery backup, good control, stat tracking, and classic Madden gameplay. My one gripe is that it has fewer teams than the previous year's version. Madden NFL '94 had about 80 teams to choose from, including a number of classic and all-time teams; this game only has the 28 NFL teams and one All-Madden team.
Spider-Man and Venom team up in this comic book based action game. Most levels are of the beat-'em-up variety, in which you punch and jump-kick to defeat enemies. There are also some wall-climbing levels, which can be tedious and frustrating. There is no two-player mode, no options menu, and no way to save your game. The game is also very difficult; a password feature would have helped immensely. While Maximum Carnage isn't a bad game, it's not a game I'd recommend either.
This is an average platform shooting game from Data East. It looks very much like a Contra game, not only in gameplay style, but some of the sound effects and bosses almost seem like they were lifted right out of Konami's games. But unlike Contra, this game has complex and confusing controls; they are counterintuitive and take a while to get used to. On the bright side, Midnight Resistance has some fairly good music and a unique power-up system.
This one-on-one fighting game is based on the 1990s kids show of the same name. As one of the Power Rangers, you must defeat Rita Repulsa's evil creations. The game plays like a simplified (and inferior) clone of Street Fighter II. There are only two buttons used during fights, a normal attack and a fierce attack. There are also special moves, which can be performed by pressing certain control pad and button combinations. The one-player mode is very short; win ten single-round fights and you have completed the game. The two-player mode lets you choose from 12 characters, including some of the enemy bosses. This game has fairly good music and graphics, but the gameplay is shallow and uninteresting.
In this unique sports game, mutants and monsters take the field for a violent game of football. Stadiums are littered with obstacles such as land mines and players can do outrageous things, such as throwing dynamite at opposing players. If things aren't going your way, you can even bribe the referee. The play selection and gameplay are somewhat similar to that of the John Madden games, but this game is played from an overhead viewpoint. Mutant League Football certainly isn't a realistic sports simulation, but it is a fun arcade style game.
This is a violent hockey game from Electronic Arts. You can play as teams of dragons, trolls, robots, or several other types of mutants and monsters. Even though the basic gameplay is similar to that of EA's NHL Hockey series, this is certainly not a realistic sports simulation. There are weapons, holes in the ice, fights, and even player deaths. These extra features are more of a novelty than anything else, though. They really don't add a whole lot to the gameplay.
This is a solid basketball game from EA Sports. Starting with NBA Live 95, EA took a different approach to their basketball games. In earlier games such as Lakers vs. Celtics, you viewed the action from a side view. Here, you view the court from a 30-degree, diagonal viewpoint. This may seem awkward at first, but the game still plays well once you get used to the new perspective.
This football game from Acclaim looks and plays like EA's John Madden games. In addition to the standard season mode, this game also has a unique QB Challenge mode. It's basically a collection of shallow mini-games designed for multiplayer competition. Perhaps my biggest complaint with NFL Quarterback Club is the inadequate passing game. Completing passes on a regular basis is much more difficult than in most football games, and running the ball will quickly become the focus of your offense. I also encountered a strange glitch during the playoffs: I had to face a duplicate of my own team in the AFC championship game. But despite the flaws in NFL Quarterback Club, it still is an enjoyable sports game.
Namco's famous dot-gobbler stars in this unique adventure. Pac-Man walks around his cartoon village all on his own, while you use a slingshot to shoot various items on-screen to get his attention. Shoot a door and he'll go through it; shoot an apple out of a tree and he'll pick it up and eat it. You can also instruct him to look in a certain direction by pressing the C button. It sounds like a clunky interface, and it is. It's made worse by the fact that Pac-Man will only follow your commands if he's in the right mood. If things aren't going his way, he'll get angry or depressed. Keeping him happy (food usually works) is also part of the game. Each stage has a goal, which is usually to find a certain item (such as a flower or a bottle of milk) and return home. Unfortunately, there are only four levels, so the game is very short. It is relatively entertaining while it lasts, though. It's worth noting that the original Pac-Man game is included, and Pac-Jr. can also be unlocked.
This fighting game features dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. Choose one of seven fighters and battle it out against the computer or a friend. Playing this game with a standard Genesis controller is not recommended; the six-button controller is almost a necessity. In general, the moves are more complex (and harder to pull off) than those of most Street Fighter type games. The gameplay is decent, but not very exciting. Overall, this Genesis version of Primal Rage is just average.
This is a slightly below average baseball game. The game's biggest problem is the close-up view of the fielders, which makes it difficult to play defense successfully. Turning on the computer assistance is a must. And also, when you move one defensive player, you move them all, except for those at a base. This further complicates the defensive controls. While this game does have a lot of options and game modes, it's not all that fun to play. And for some reason, the home plate umpire's right forearm isn't connected to anything; it just hovers in the air when he calls a strike. Strange.
This is a motorcycle racing game in which you can use your fists and weapons to fight your opponents as you race. The biggest problem with this game is the low frame rate. The choppy action gives you less time to see and react to upcoming obstacles. Also, the control is not very good. Even when you have the better bikes and upgraded tires, it's still not easy to get your bike to do what you want--especially on dirt tracks. You may steer out of the way of an oncoming car, only to skid into a sign on the side of the road. This game is fairly fun to play for a while, but it gets extremely frustrating in the later levels.
In this side-scrolling platformer, you play as an opossum named Sparkster. Armed with a sword and a rocket pack, you must fight your way through seven challenging levels that will take you underwater, underground, into the air, and even into space. Practice and repetition are the keys to success in Rocket Knight Adventures. Each time you play, you may learn something new--such as the location of a safe spot, the trick to beating a boss, or a pattern that will help you advance. The graphics and sound are good by Genesis standards, and the control is also solid. There are a couple places where the game slows down, making the controls temporarily sluggish, but overall it's not a big problem. Like most of Konami's 16-bit offerings, Rocket Knight Adventures is a well-made, enjoyable game.
This fourth game in the Sonic series lets you play as Sonic the Hedgehog or Knuckles the Echidna. While the gameplay is very similar to that of Sonic 3, the cartridge itself is very innovative. Using "lock-on technology," you can plug Sonic 2 or Sonic 3 into this cart to play as Knuckles in the earlier games. This allows you to use Knuckles' gliding and wall climbing abilities to access new parts of old levels.
This is the game that started it all for Sega's famous blue hedgehog. You've got to run and jump through a wide variety of side-scrolling levels. Instead of a health meter or Mario style power-ups, you collect coins. As long as you have at least one coin, getting hit by an enemy won't kill you. But it will make you lose all of your coins, so you have to pick up more of them right away. Overall, Sonic the Hedgehog is an action-packed game with speedy action, fun boss battles, good music, and unique bonus levels.
This is one of the best platform games ever. Sega's speedy hedgehog returns in a game even faster than the original. Sonic and his new friend Tails have to blaze through a variety of well-designed levels. The two-player mode is also fun, even though the levels look very scrunched up. This is my favorite of the Genesis Sonic games.
Sonic and Tails are back in this action/platform game from Sega. It has some new power-ups including the flame shield, water shield, and lightning shield. It also marks the first appearance of Knuckles the Echidna. Sonic 3 is a good game, but it's my least favorite of the four main Genesis Sonic games.
Much like Final Fight or Double Dragon, Streets of Rage is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up action game. You choose one of three characters and use punches, jump kicks, and throws to defeat hordes of enemies in each of the eight levels. Weapons such as baseball bats, bottles, and knives can also be picked up and used. Power-ups can give you health bonuses, extra lives, or more points. While the graphics are about average by Genesis standards, the music is very good and the control is excellent. But most importantly, this one or two player game is a lot of fun to play.
Blaze and Axel are joined by wrestler Max and rollerblader Skate in this beat-'em-up sequel for one or two players. The solid gameplay is very similar to the original, although the special moves are different this time around. The graphics have been greatly improved, with larger, more detailed characters. The downside is that they move a bit slower. The music is good for the most part, but not as good as in the first game. There are eight levels to fight your way through, with weapons and health power-ups to grab along the way. There is quite a bit of variety in the levels, as you'll fight in unusual places such as a baseball diamond and an amusement park. Streets of Rage 2 provides an enjoyable experience, although I liked the original a little better.
The Ninja Turtles star in this side-scrolling action/fighting game. Pick your favorite Turtle and beat up all the foot soldiers and other bad guys. The gameplay is similar to that of TMNT IV: Turtles in Time on SNES. Even though the SNES game is better in most ways, The Hyper Stone Heist is still an enjoyable arcade-style game--especially when playing with a buddy.
In this unique adventure game, you play as one of two aliens who crash-landed on Earth. You've got to recover the pieces of your ship to return home. Even though there are enemies that you can fight, the game is primarily about exploration. Each level is randomly generated and most are very large. Not only must you search for ship pieces, but you've also got to find the elevator on each stage to advance to the next area. Various presents can be found scattered on the ground, and they can contain almost anything from an extra life to an extra enemy. The game can be played alone or you can team up with a friend. Either way, ToeJam & Earl is a very entertaining game. It's also worth pointing out that the music and sound effects are excellent.
This racer is a port of the SNES game by the same name. You'll race through 64 tracks in 16 countries as you compete for the championship. If you finish in the top six for a race, you'll earn prize money which can be used to upgrade your car. A password is used to save your progress. One thing that annoyed me was the ramps in the game: They sometimes cause cars to inexplicably crash or spin out. And by default, there is no in-game music, which is disappointing. If you want the music on, you are forced to disable sound effects instead. The graphics and control were also downgraded in the conversion. While Top Gear 2 on the Genesis is still an enjoyable game, it is a sloppy port. For those who have access to both 16-bit systems, I recommend the SNES version of the game.
This three-in-one cartridge includes Columns, Super Hang-On, and World Championship Soccer. Columns is a puzzle game in which columns of jewels fall from the top of the screen. The object is to line up gems of the same color. Super Hang-On is a motorcycle racing game for one player. It has fairly good music, but the controls are very stiff and unresponsive. World Championship Soccer is a soccer game played from an overhead viewpoint. It also has poor control that keeps it from being very much fun. Overall, Columns is the only decent game on this cartridge. The other two are complete duds.
This is an action/platform game in which you (as Vectorman) must save Earth from an evil robot named WarHead. You'll have to shoot a variety of enemies as your make your way through each level. The control is very good, although the lack of a rapid-fire option may tire out your thumbs. You'll be pressing the "shoot" button an awful lot, and even the power-up icons (TV sets) take eight hits before giving you the goodies inside. But fortunately, Vectorman is still fun to play. It's also one of the better-looking Genesis games available.
This racing game from Sega originally cost $99.99, due to the SVP chip inside the game cartridge. It allowed for faster processing of polygon graphics, and it shows. The 3D graphics are very impressive by 16-bit standards and the game flows by at a swift pace. The music isn't bad either, although it doesn't play continuously throughout the race--it stops and starts as you go through checkpoints. Unfortunately, there are only three courses to race on. But the CPU competition is tough to beat...it will take a lot of practice before you start winning races. The control is good for the most part, although your car seems to spin out too easily (this too can be somewhat improved with practice, but it's still an annoyance). Virtua Racing is a decent racing game, but its flaws keep it from greatness.
This is a game that seems like it was rushed to market. The controls are often not responsive, the game occasionally will "freeze up," and the ball often does strange things. Baserunners have scored on what should be a sacrifice fly without even tagging up. The replays occasionally show a different outcome than what happened on the field. And then there is the most common problem: The game often will not let me switch to the correct outfielder until the ball has landed safely in the outfield, and what should have been an easy fly-out turns into a double or triple for the other team. This game is absolutely loaded with bugs and glitches--I've mentioned only a fraction of them--and it suffers because of them.
Wolverine, Gambit, Nightcrawler, and Cyclops star in this extremely difficult platform game. Each of the four playable characters has a standard attack move and a unique special attack. As you make your way through each level, you've got to endure a lot of cheap hits from the enemies. The control isn't that great either, which makes it a chore to successfully jump from platform to platform. X-Men may have good graphics, but that's all it has going for it. The game simply isn't any fun to play.
In this challenging action game, you must rescue your neighbors while fighting off monsters from horror movies. Among them are zombies, vampires, werewolves, chainsaw maniacs, giant ants, UFOs, and more. You're armed with just a squirt gun at first, but other weapons and items can be picked up along the way. The game can be played alone, or two players can team up. The control setup is quite awkward if you're using a standard Genesis controller, but it's much better with Sega's six-button controller. Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a fun game, but it's slightly inferior to the SNES version in terms of graphics and sound.
This is my list of the best games that I have played for this system. This list will change over time as I play more games in the system's library.
1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
2. ToeJam & Earl
3. Sonic the Hedgehog
4. Madden NFL 95
5. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
6. Streets of Rage
7. John Madden Football '92
8. Sonic & Knuckles
9. The Lost Vikings