Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Top 50 Favourite Sega Mega Drive Games: #20 - #11

We’ve reached an important stage of my listing now. It’s Top 20 time. What are my Top 20 favourite Mega Drive games? Keep following to find out! 

#20 – Gain Ground

Released: 1992 (2007 in the UK)
Genre: Action
Rating: ****1/4 stars
Best Moment: Getting to the end of the level with all characters intact. The game crumbles very quickly if you lose your best characters.
I only discovered this game recently, on the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection actually. I’d never heard of it before then. To be fair, it was never released in the UK on the console itself, but has been ported here on compilation games celebrating the Genesis/Mega Drive. It’s a really good game. It’s hard to describe what the game is about. It’s actually a little like a video game version of British Bulldog if you’ve played it, if so you may have an idea where I’m going with this description; you start off with three characters and you have to get to the end of the level. There are two ways to do this; first, you can dodge enemies and walk to the exit, which is usually the hardest way to do it, mainly because you’d have to do this with every single character. The quickest way to beat a level is to just kill all enemies on screen. As I said you start off with three characters but you can recruit more characters by saving them, to do this you have to find them on the screen and take them to an exit, and in the next level onwards they’ll be added to your roster. If anyone dies then they have to be saved, otherwise you permanently lose that character. It’s a really good game Gain Ground, really worth playing and it’s a tough strategy game in the end but very fun to play. I don’t know how many people have actually played it, I doubt many, but it’s really worth your time trust me.

#19 - Street Fighter II: Championship Edition

Released: 1992
Genre: Fighting
Rating: ****1/4 stars
Best Moment: Beating the Bonus stages flawlessly. Always a good feeling.
How many versions of Street Fighter II was there? Well the Mega Drive had a few, with this version probably being the best. I’m not putting more than one version in this list; they’re far too similar too each other! Street Fighter II’s legacy speaks for itself, it’s simply the most influential fighting game ever released. I don’t think individually one single other fighting game can claim it’s made a bigger impact. I’m not saying it’s the best, but no game in the genre has added to the genre on the whole more than this game. Street Fighter II is a game you have to experience, to fully understand its place in video game history. It’s not coincidence that Street Fighter IV took a lot of inspiration from SF2 to take the game series back to the top of the mountain. Is Street Fighter II my favourite fighting game on the Mega Drive? No, you’ll find that out later in this list. But Street Fighter II is more legendary than it is one of my favourite games, that’s for sure, but regardless of its placement in this list, I respect the hell out of this game and Capcom for making it.

#18 – Worms
Released: 1995
Genre: Strategy
Rating: ****1/4 stars
Best Moment: Having to take a very risky and tough shot with a bazooka, and nailing it spot on.
Ah, the Worms series. It’s amazing to think that the original Worms game was released on the Mega Drive but it was. I never played it on the Mega Drive personally but I do know that the Mega Drive version has zero changes to it to the Playstation copy I had. And what a game Worms was, back in 1995. Sure, nowadays the Worms formula has improved drastically, as have the graphics and comedy voices, but let’s not take anything away from the original game. At the time Worms was unlike any other game out there. A strategy game with an incredible sense humour, this game could destroy friendships as the competitive gameplay was so good. Worms on the Mega Drive surely makes it one of the best games ever released on the console, even if it was released when the console was dying out.

#17 – Speedball 2
Released: 1990
Genre: Sports
Rating: ****1/4 stars
Best Moment: Scoring after a succession of great passes, either that or heating the ball up and throwing it at the goalie, with the ball ending in the back of the net. Fun times.
I’ve already reviewed this game on this site as part of my Old School Game Reviews, you can read that here. Speedball 2 was a truly terrific game. Sure, it may not be a real sport, but it’s still a sports game, and I rate it as one of the best sports games ever made. A mixture of rugby, handball and hockey, Speedball wasn’t that popular unfortunately, but it’s definitely playable, even today I play this game. It’s quite difficult but a heck of a lot of fun, frenetic fun that is. I love this game, and can’t recommend you play it enough.

#16 – Super Monaco GP
Released: 1990 (1991 in the UK)
Genre: Racing
Rating: ****1/4 stars
Best Moment: Just sticking to your gameplan, racing hard and fast yet accurate, and finishing in first place, naturally.
Technically I suppose the second game was superior and I may have rated it quite low at #32 but I just prefer the first game in nearly every way. I love World Championship Mode. I love starting in the Minrae (which is based on the Minardi F1 car), changing constructors and ending up in the Madonna car (based on the McLaren). I love racing on my favourite tracks (some being Great Britain, France and Italy). I also love and hate the second season of World Championship Mode, when you’re the defending champion and G. Ceara (based on the great Ayrton Senna) joins the season having taken the first season out and getting your arse whooped by him and struggling to reclaim your title. I just have so many personal memories of this game, all great, and it’ll forever be my favourite F1 game ever. There may be many technically better games, graphics or controls, but I’ll doubt I’ll ever find a game I’ll enjoy more based on Formula 1 racing.

#15 – Shining Force II
Released: 1993 (1994 in the UK)
Genre: RPG
Rating: ****1/2 stars
Best Moment: Just assembling your party and kicking arse in general. It’s just a brilliant RPG.
I feel bad that Shining Force II is so low on this list as it’s truly an epic RPG. There weren’t many RPGs on the Mega Drive (only the Shining Force and Phantasy Star games are really worthy of any mention in honesty) but Shining Force is not only the best RPG series on the console, but one of my favourite RPG series of all time. I truly love Shining Force, the stories are decent enough but it’s the strategy and turned based RPG system that truly sets it apart from other RPGs. It gets the formula totally spot on and I just love playing the games. If you’ve never experienced Shining Force, seriously, get an emulator or get the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection and play the two Shining Force games. You won’t regret it.

#14 – Streets of Rage

Released: 1991
Genre: Beat ‘em Up
Rating: ****1/2 stars
Best Moment: Honestly? The first level. The whole of it. The music is just so fricking awesome, topped off by the just as good boss theme. The level, while naturally the easiest, has excellent flow to it and it’s probably one of my favourite ‘first levels’ of all time.

I’ve already reviewed this game on this site as part of my Old School Game Reviews, you can read that here. The original Streets of Rage was just so good, ridiculously good even, for back in 1991. Sure, there were Beat ‘em Ups before it that made an impact, but I think Streets of Rage truly lifted the genre to new levels never seen before, and in honesty, not seen since. And this game started it all off. And the formula was improved further for the sequel, but this game, the first in the series, was and still is, one of the best Mega Drive games of all time.

#13 – Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine

Released: 1993 (1994 in the UK)
Genre: Puzzle
Rating: ****1/2 stars
Best Moment: Quite simply, getting an absolutely humongous combo and piling a load of clear beans on your opponent’s grid, rendering them almost incapable of making a comeback.
Man, I love this game. I’d possibly rate it as my favourite puzzle game ever, although that’s another list for another day. Is it the most original puzzle game ever made? Of course not. In fact, it’s a version of a video game series popular in Japan called Puyo Puyo, marketed for Western audiences. It has some of the same music, the same style of game in nearly every way, the only difference is the addition of Dr Robotnik and some other characters associated with Sonic. So it’s actually a ripoff. But do I care? No, not at all, I love this game, I’ve spent hours and hours playing this game; I’ve probably put more time into this puzzle game than all other puzzle games combined. It’s just a really fun game, and I’ll never play a better puzzle game ever, in my opinion.

#12 - Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Released: 1993
Genre: Action
Rating: ****1/2 stars
Best Moment: I just love running at ninjas and taking out my sword and slicing them silly. It’s a simple technique but it’s a hella fun.
You know, I played The Revenge of Shinobi as part of my Mega 6 collection, that I mentioned earlier. I always said to myself, why didn’t they ever make a sequel to that Shinobi game? I never knew this game existed for years later, not to mention that they actually made a sequel for the Mega Drive itself. The second Shinobi game was released on the Sega Game Gear, but this third entry was put back on the Mega Drive as the Game Gear was a flop. Shinobi III was brilliant. It took everything that made the original Revenge of Shinobi a success and added so much more. The action in this game, is just awesome. It blows most games out of the water for the amount of moves and techniques available in an action game. And you really do feel like a badass ninja playing this game. Shinobi III is just simply, one of the best Mega Drive games of all time. You really should experience it if you haven’t before.

#11 – Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Released: 1996
Genre: Fighting
Rating: ****1/2 stars
Best Moment: The moment when you finally kick Shao Kahn’s ass; Mortal Kombat is a very hard game at times and Shao Kahn is a worthy final battle, and when you finally defeat him it’s a huge sigh of relief and joy.
In honesty, I never played the original Mortal Kombat III. Nor did I play Mortal Kombat II until many years later. UMK3 is THE fighting game for the Mega Drive in my opinion. 24 characters in one fighting game... I’m pretty sure that was unprecedented in 1996. Naturally now we have bigger rosters, but for a Mega Drive game, to have so many characters all with different movesets and personalities... it was just epic. I honestly rate UMK3 as one of my favourite fighting games ever, it’s definitely my favourite Mortal Kombat game, and for me, it’s definitely the best fighting game on the Mega Drive. Even more so than Street Fighter 2.

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1 comment:

  1. First time poster here at your blog --- please keep it up! I'm enjoying the reads.