I have been putting this off for a long time since i was never really happy about what my top 10 list looked like. I just had a hard time finding games deserving to be on a prestigious list like this. But in the end i just have to go with my gut feeling and dish it out. Although i love the Sega Mega Drive for what it is i just feel the list lacks a bit in quality when compared to the NES and SNES list and maybe even the Turbografx16/PCEngine list but that does not mean that the Sega Mega does not have a few gems on there! Even if it means the quantity is less.
I try to represent all the most popular genres of the time and as always there is the only one game per franchise unless i feel the games just absolutely deserve that.
10. The Disney games made by Virgin (Aladdin, Lion King and Jungle Book)
Yes, I cannot really decide just one out of these three. They are all quality titles with solid gameplay. What makes these games so special however is the presentation. Of course they are based on our favorite movies that have tunes most of us love so there’s that factor, and the Mega Drive converts the soundtrack from the movies really well.
The graphics in these games are among the best seen on the system. Still to this day the animation looks great and the sprites look like they are right out of the cartoons. Really great stuff.
What keeps them from reaching higher is maybe that the platforming and level design is pretty generic and they are not such a great challenge since they are focused on the younger crowd. Great fun nonetheless.
If you like these games try: Castle of Illusion
9. Golden Axe
Golden Axe for the Mega Drive/Genesis was a godsend when it finally was ported from the arcades to the comfort of your own home. Or so I’ve heard since being from freaking Iceland we never had any arcades and got all games like a year later than everyone else…. We had always stayed away from the game because of its dated graphics but me and of course my cousin decided to pick it up a few months ago since it is a co-op beat’em up after all and co-op is the websites’ main focus.
Golden Axe is a bit flawed but is ultimately a really fun adventure that will leave you wanting more.The co-op beat’em solid gameplay is what keeps Golden Axe going and it makes up for the dated graphics that keep some from even giving the game a chance, but that same “dated-ness” feeling makes the game more nostalgic and comical even sometimes especially with some fun animation and hilarious screams of death.
If you are knee deep in the co-op beat’em ups like us you should most definitely try out Golden Axe because it is a really solid game and a pioneer in the genre.
If you like this game try: Golden Axe 2, Knights of the Round, King of Dragons
Comix Zone is a 1-player beat ’em up game that throws Sketch Turner, a comic artist into his own comic book were he has to fight his way out and stop Mortus, the villain that Sketch himself created from wreaking havoc on the real world…. Pretty far out but it is a very fun concept having to beat your way through the windows and pages of the comic themed stages.
If your are itching for a good beat’ em up experience but do not have a pal around Comix Zone is definitely a good option since you should be saving the co-op beat ’em up games for when you have a second player around anyway.
Comix Zone is a very good game with good controls, good set of moves and some good platforming and puzzles. The game is very short but its insane difficulty makes the time it takes to clear the game plenty so you are getting something for your buck here
Its presentation is fun and innovative. The comicy theme comes out great and the overall graphics are superior and the music is pretty solid too.
Just a very good game, like i said i recommend it as a good 1 player beat ’em up option.
7. Castlevania: The New Generation/Bloodlines
Sega finally gets some of that Castlevania action and if you have been following this site then you know i looove me some Castlevania action! This time set in the 1st world war. Two vampire hunters face the resurrection of Dracula in the absence of the Belmonts. John Morris who is the successor of the Vampire Killer whip of the Belmont clan and Eric Lecarde who wields the Alucard spear join hands in Castlevania’s first shot at a Sega console.
Castlevania: The New Generation is a very solid Castlevania title that takes a little different but fun approach. The game has limited continues(a Castlevania first) so it makes playing the game from the beginning a bit different and requires a different approach. I can’t say if it is good or bad, it’s just different. What makes the game a lesser title than Rondo of Blood and Castlevania X68000 is that it only has 6 levels which means less lasting appeal and less original music.It does have two characters though….
The game has a few amazing original tracks and in the end “Bloodlines” is just a very solid Castlevania game that i recommend for all Castlevania fans.
If you like this game try: Rondo of Blood, Castlevania X68000, Legendary Axe
6. Gunstar Heroes
Apparently made by former developers from Konami that were tired of making Contra sequels, Gunstar Heroes is sarcastically a Contra clone with a cartoony spin. Yes, Gunstar Heroes is an action packed run and gun game with dynamic bosses and a mix and match weapon system where you can have 2 types of guns at one time and mix them together for different type of shooting bad guys. The setting is charming and the gameplay is fluid and solid. Great game with a unique atmosphere. Highly recommended!
If you like this game try: Contra: Hard Corps
5. Sonic 2
Yeah im picking Sonic 2 as the representative for the Sonic series on the Sega Mega. I feel like the game has superior gameplay to the first entry and it is a lot more fresh than the otherwise great 3rd entry. I was planning on giving the spot to the “Sonic 3 and Knuckles” lock-on combination between Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles which combined to a very long Sonic supergame where you can even save your game which made the choice even more difficult.
I feel Sonic 2 has superior level design, better music and somehow just more fun to play. The “supergame” requires you to buy two games, and really they are two games. I really recommend playing Sonic 3 & Knuckles but Sonic 2 is just so good and the lock-on stuff kinda drags it down.
If you like this game try: Sonic 3 and Knuckles
4. Toejam and Earl
Toejam and Earl is a funky little game that involves 2 aliens searching for their crashed ship and its many parts on earth. It is famous for its funk soundtrack and easy going vibe.There is no fighting in this game, these 2 chill dudes just want to get home but earthlings prove to be annoying hazards that need to be avoided while you explore the stages with the goal being finding ship parts and advance levels. Toejam & Earl is a welcome change in a co-op environment dominated by beat’em ups and run and gun games. I guess you can call the game a dungeon crawler, where you can find fun items that help you distract and/or avoid the annoying earthlings. You might want to research the game yourself further to understand fully what the game is about, but strangely enough it was enough fun to take the 2nd spot.
If you like this game try: Dungeon Explorers, Toejam and Earl: Panic on Funkotron
3.Streets of Rage 2
Streets of Rage 2 takes the top spot because of its great gameplay, great original setting and original music. This series became the new standard for the beat’ em ups on the Mega Drive and the second title stands out of the three as the best one. For a Sega Mega game, Streets of Rage II looks outstanding. The Swayze/Kurt Russell-ish theme of the game is a nice classic touch coupled with a tight variety of gameplay mechanics which equals to the best co-op game on the system. A Great game, so if you like it check out the other titles in the series. They might have made the list too but i don’t want a series to hog up a spot on the list unless the gameplay is fundamentally different like with the Toejam and Earl games.
If you like this game try: Final Fight CD, Double Dragon 2 CD, Knights of the Round
2. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master is a wonderful game, on all accounts.The move set of Joe Musashi, environment and the controls are just phenomenal and such an upgrade over Revenge of the Shinobi. The graphics and music is superb and the game is just a joy to go through.
It has been a while since i played such a quality action/platforming game which is one of my favorite genres. I have always liked Mega Man, Castlevania and this Shinobi game more than Mario, Donkey Kong and Sonic so this game is right up my alley, and it might be up yours too (hehe, up yours). Pick it up wherever you can cause this one is a great one.
If you like this game try: Revenge of the Shinobi, Hagane, Castlavania
1.Phantasy Star IV
Phantasy Star IV is an amazing experience that no JRPG fan should miss. The classic JRPG gameplay is solid but it can be a bit old timey and the dungeons maybe a bit stale at times but as an 90’s JRPG that is pretty normal and Phantasy Star IV manages to be very fun most of the time.
The game looks absolutely amazing for a Mega Drive game as you can see but sadly the music could not be on par with the great graphics. The music is great at times, but mediocre at others.
The strongest aspect of PSIV is the story but the game owes some of that to the earlier games of the series who paved the way for this grand finale. PSIV will be so much more enjoyable after going through at least PS1 and then maybe PS2 and besides…those games a both really good on just their own merits. Phantasy Star 1 was revolutionary, just look it up or read my old review.
If you like this game try: Final Fantasy series, Phantasy Star 1, Terranigma
This list is not an absolute final list, for example I am going to give Shining Force II another chance and my copy of Road Rash 2 is on its way and hey maybe I will just change my mind about some games in the future.
Thats it! What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Would you shoot me dead in the street if you would see me?
Weeell, this is my honest opinion… If you want to voice your opinion on the list take part in the readers poll or comment 😀
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4 thoughts on “Top 10 Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Games”
Thx for this. But these games are all known, there should be an alternative top ten list, you should do that too. Since there are many top games out there too, after the first alternative topten, you should do another alternative part 2 top ten and so on. However, nice site. Thx again.
Thanks for the comment, yeah i realize many Top 10 lists are boring and maybe even pointless but this is also just for myself to summarize my thoughts.
I have been thinking about doing alternative lists like top famicom exclusives lists or “guilty pleasures” list or something like that.
Great list, Although I would have put Road Rash II in there in place of Outrun. I also spend way too much time playing Side Pocket. Although I doubt that would ever bother any top 10 list.
Thanks! Both of these games seem like solid choices to me.
I can imagine spending a lots of time playing side pocket but its definitely not for everybody 😀