Reader Roundtable kicks off with some of Sega-16’s most devoted fans sharing what’s in their Genesis right now. There’s a lot of love for Sega’s 16-bit marvel, and our readers are eager to share it! Sit back and enjoy the first installment of our reader tribute to the Genesis.
Ghouls ‘N Ghosts By: Ken Horowitz
Even after all these years, Ghouls ‘N Ghosts manages to impress me with the sheer quality of its gameplay. Hard as nails sometimes but never cheap, it’s the epitome of an old school platformer done right. They don’t make them like this anymore folks, and there’s a lesson in that. Better than the original and dare I say, the SNES sequel (double jumps are cool, but I prefer the multi-directional shot, thank you), Ghouls ‘N Ghosts has it all: great graphics and sound, incredible level design, and some of the tightest gameplay ever seen. The Genesis port lacked some of the detail of the coin-op, but it was so minimal, and the control was so spot-on that you never even noticed. Ah yes, the wonder of Capcom’s classic franchise never gets old. Modern gamers are lucky enough to be able to enjoy this gem in all its arcade glory on the Capcom Classics Collection and will see the first new installment in over a decade next year on the PSP. Perhaps Xtreme Ghouls ‘N Ghosts will soon show the world that these types of games simply cannot die.
Target Earth By: Nick Gibson
Target Earth has been king of the cartridge slot at my house. It’s such a unique game, on many levels. First off, is there any other Genesis game this hard? What was NCS thinking? I recently attempted to play it without that sanity-saving invincibility trick, only to meet a brutal demise just seconds into level four. This leads me to wonder…could even the programmers beat it? It’s such a pity, really, since the game is such an incredible experience in all other respects. It’s a mecha shooter, yes, but it’s got a great storyline presented in top-notch anime cinemas. And the variety! You’ll get to throw your weight around in all sorts of combat situations: drop-ship assaults, shuttle escorts, infiltrations, base patrols, daring escapes, and gigantic space cruiser clashes. There are droves of enemies and squads of friendlies in every level, and anything that moves can die. Expect lots of gunfire and explosions, because despite the primitive graphical style, Target Earth flawlessly conveys the sense of intense mecha combat. That’s really what we all want, right? At any rate, this game needs some more playtime, so I’m off. Maybe if I play it constantly for the next two years, I’ll get good enough to beat it without a cheat code. (Yeah, right.)
Sagaia By: Trevor McAleese
Sagaia will keep alive for future generations the tired old cliche “greater than the sum of its parts.” While this Genesis port of the extremely letterboxed quarter carnival Darius II does little to innovate the shooter scene, what Sagaia offers is some smooth horizontal galactic dancing… but perhaps a little too smooth. The Sagaia experience doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression, what with its lack of creative level design (quantity over quality, I’m afraid), an only marginally exciting weapon system, and audio/visually it’s not a fondler of the senses. In spite of this, Sagaia entertains and holds itself together for the duration, even if there surfaces afterward a strange, intangible feeling that you could have had equally as much fun rolling around on the lawn (but I think that about everything). Luckily, the actual time spent with Sagaia doesn’t leave you the chance to come to grips with these thoughts. The fish… must… pay!
Last Battle By: David Wilson
Last Battle may have stripped the exploding heads, excessively violent battles, and philosophical astrology from Hokuto no Ken 2 but they didn’t remove those thick pectorals. Granted, characters have had their names changed, skin colours altered (bright blue and green men await your sweaty fist) and their dialogue stripped to its bare bones but the fact that your muscular magnitude is so clearly profound is a clear selling point for those hungry action gamers.
Armed with nothing but his two fists and feet, Aarzak (Kenshiro’s new identity) walks from town to town smacking enemy forces across the screen with his patented punch or kick. Defeating numerous foes will enable Aarzak’s muscles to rip through his clothes in a wondrous (and manly) transformation. When he’s like this, Aarzak can punch and kick three times in one tap of a button, making him almost invincible.
Aside from these testosterone-laden battles, you’ll have to use your brain when you navigate through some tough, trap-laden mazes. Unfortunately, the manly and sweaty battles are a smaller part to these stages, but they are still just as arousing as before. You thought Altered Beast was bad? You haven’t seen anything until you experienced the downright masculinity of Last Battle.