I’ve done a lot of talking about the NES, now it’s time to give some shine to the other big system of my early years — the Sega Genesis.
The Genesis was my 16-bit system of choice. The decision was heavily influenced by my best friend owning one, so after getting a taste of the system at his house — I wanted it for myself and I got one Christmas 1993. The Super Nintendo didn’t really appeal to me. It seemed like there were way too many RPGs for it (something I wasn’t much of a fan of back then) and I didn’t care for the new look of Mario. After a year or two, it was obvious I had sided with the wrong console, but I stood firm and never got a SNES during its active years.
Here are a handful of games that, good or bad, captured my attention and kept me satisfied. There’s more to come, so check back soon.
Olympic Gold (1992, U.S. Gold)
One of the first Genesis games I played. It took me awhile to like it. After all, I’m not an athletic guy and I’ve always had ZERO interest in the Olympics. These are the “events” available to play: 100 m, hammer throw, archery, 110 m hurdles, pole vault, 200 m freestyle swimming, 3 m springboard diving.
I was decent at all but pole vault and I was absolutely horrible at diving. I could never figure out what I was supposed to do, so I would just send my diver flipping all kinds of ways and get 0.0 across the board. I loved hammer throw.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991, SEGA)
This would be the other early Genesis game I played. I remember playing the demo that Sears or Toys R Us would have set up and being blown away by it. Sonic was like nothing I (and everyone, really) had ever seen before! That is, if you could see him at all. It was a great new alternative to the usual hop-skip-jump platformers. The soundtrack was an instant classic as well.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992, SEGA)
This was my first Genesis game because it came packaged with the new & improved sleek Genesis that I got for Christmas. I think Sonic 2 is superior to the original: better levels, Tails, Sonic Spin and an even better soundtrack (to which I would make up my own lyrics and sing as I played). I loved the debug & Super Sonic codes too. I always wished you could switch off on Tails & Sonic with each level though.
X-Men (1993, SEGA)
I got this alongside the Genesis that same Christmas. Looking back, you can see it’s not really a “good” game, but it was decent and it was the X-MEN after all and in those simple times, but was more than enough. Nightcrawler and Gambit were my favorite characters to use and again, I wasn’t happy about not being able to take control of Archangel, Rogue, Storm or Iceman! Don’t put them in the game if I can’t use them!
X-Men 2: Clone Wars (1995, SEGA)
One of the best intros to a game ever. I didn’t own this one, but I rented it a lot for me and one of my fellow comic book-loving friends to play. Much improved graphics with this one and there was a better character selection than the first game as they added Beast, Psylocke and Magneto (available later in the game) in addition to Gambit, Nightcrawler, Cyclops and Wolverine. We never beat it and I don’t think we even got as far to play as Magneto, but it was still really fun.
Beavis & Butt-head (1994, Viacom New Media)
I got this game for my birthday and played it for MONTHS nonstop alongside one of my friends. We were huge Beavis & Butt-head fans at the time and this game is pretty fun. If I’m remembering correctly, the point of the game is gist of the game is you’re running around town trying to find & piece back together tickets to a GWAR concert that for some reason or another were shredded up.
ToeJam & Earl (1991, Sega)
Weird little rap & funk inspired game starring two aliens trying to collect pieces of their ship so they can go back home. Fun soundtrack and a great two-player game. It was followed by two inferior sequels. It’s on Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console, but I personally don’t think the game has much value unless you’re playing it with a friend.
Shining Force (1992, Sega)
This was the game that got me into RPGs. I ended up trading one of my Genesis games for it in ’94. It’s a turn-based strategy RPG and while it was very frustrating (nothing quite frustrating like clearing the map down to one or two opponents, dying, then having to start the WHOLE BATTLE over again) at times, it was really fun picking up new allies along the way, choosing your team and watching them level up and become stronger than you imagined. I never beat it, but I came close. It’s now on Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console and I quickly downloaded it as soon as it was available.
Soldiers of Fortune (1993, Renegade Software)
I picked this one up used probably in ’95 or ’96 and it’s truly one of the more underrated Genesis games. It’s an overhead shooter similar to Commando and Ikari Warriors, with the standard shooting and bombing, except you’re not running around a jungle. It’s a steampunk setting and you get your pick of six different mercenaries as you battle your way through levels against all kinds of monsters and beasts in your quest to destroy Baron Fortesque’s “Chaos Engine”. It was a great two-player game, if you were going alone, you were pretty much screwed from “START”. Too bad my friend and I could never beat it!
It was released on a number of systems as The Chaos Engine, but for whatever reason, it was called Soldiers of Fortune when released on the SNES & Genesis in the U.S.
Road Rash II (1993, Electronic Arts)
Kinda like the movie Death Race 2000 but with motorcycles and unfortunately there’s no Sylvester Stallone. There is punching and chain-whipping though. That’s always fun.
Captain America & The Avengers (1993, Data East)
I’ve already mentioned this as one of my favorite arcade beat’em up games, so it’s no surprise the faithful Genesis port would rank high with me as well.