You’ve stuffed yourself full of turkey, and the weekend was needed just to get your wasteline back to its normal size. What better way to get over your gastronomical indiscretions than by sitting down with some Genesis games? November was a good month for Sega-16 readers, and there’s never a shortage of quality games to play!
Golden Axe II By Ken Horowitz
Having recently played the heck out of the Sega Genesis Collection on the PlayStation 2, I decided to go back to my Golden Axe II cart and get the feel of it again on the original hardware. Even after all these years, this game still holds up pretty darn well. I’m still miffed at the muted death screams (why Sega, why?), but everything else is just as much fun as ever. The stages rock, the music, while not on the same level as the original, is great, and it’s just a blast to play through. After so many years, isn’t that what’s important? If you own a Genesis (or a PlayStation 2 for that matter), grab a friend and fire this baby up. It’s a great example of what made Sega’s little black box such a success, and a wonderful show of the console at its prime.
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master By Nick Gibson
After some long afternoons with Shinobi III, I’ve decided that this is the premiere 2D ninja game. Current 3D offerings can battle it out amongst themselves for all I care; the fight for side-scrolling samurai supremacy is over, and Joe Musashi stands tall above the lacerated corpses of his opponents. Shinobi III picks up where Revenge of Shinobi left off in terms of gameplay, further refining the controls and game design. There are two key improvements: one is the ability to run. It’s amazing what this lone feature can do for the old formula – what was once a rather ponderous affair has been turned into a roller coaster thrill ride that never lets up. The speed is exhilarating, simply put. The other improvement is the addition of on-demand blocking and more attacks, like a dropkick and a running slash. Gone are the days of walking up to an enemy and hammering the attack button; now you can run, jump, dropkick, double jump, fire a spread of lethal shuriken, hit the ground, block a salvo of machine gun fire, and execute a running slash in what amounts to a “mobility combo.” The story is about as important as ever (meaning an opening crawl and a short ending), but it’s the middle that counts. A crazy adventure through a world where ninjas and grenades, bushido and crime syndicates, old virtue and rising evil clash. Buy it now.
Simpsons: Bart’s Nightmare By Vince Thornburg
Being a major Simpsons fanatic in the first half of the ’90s, I wanted any Simpsons game available to me, including this mini-game compilation called Bart’s Nightmare. I still remember being annoyed by how hard the game could get so quickly. It starts you off on the street, as you avoid various obstacles, waiting for a little piece of paper to blow by… emphasis on wait. It’s easy to simply die before even finding a single paper, with various obstacles jumping at you, and with the unusual controls, it makes it even harder to avoid the little Lisa fairy or the school bus speeding down the road. including little basket balls and Jebidiah Springfield heads ready to knock you down for no good reason.
When you can actually get to a piece of paper, the game actually picks up a bit. The Itchy and Scratchy game seems to be the Genesis’s only real taste of the duo’s entertainment power. Bartman is fun but it’s still pretty hard. The Indiana Jones-esque game seems too random to enjoy. Bartzilla can actually be pretty easy to work out but can get boring easily. The amoeba game is one of the better ones on the pack. If your a fan, it’s worth it, but in the end it may be a bit to insane to really want to stay to the end.
Quackshot Starring Donald Duck By Tom Briggs
Although I’ve spent a considerable amount of time playing certain games I’m hoping to soon review (not to mention hours of Sonic on the Wii) the majority of my Genesis playtime belongs to Quackshot Starring Donald Duck. It was one of the first games I owned WITHOUT “Sonic” in the title, and remains a favorite of mine today. For some odd reason this game never stops growing on me. How can you not love a game that uses plungers, bubblegum, and popcorn as ammo? The game invited you to explore its varied levels, but made sure that you played them in a certain order to obtain the necessary items to advance. And because the game is constantly throwing new and upgraded items at you, the journey feels fresh from start to finish. The levels, while stereotypical in setting, were well designed and fun. Egypt, Transylvania, and even a Viking ship were all there to enjoy. Add to this some great platforming, colorful graphics, and fun boss battles, and you have a classic. The game is always great for an afternoon of fun.
There were some amazing Disney games out back in the 16-bit era, and even though games like Castle of Illusion were better overall, Quackshot Starring Donald Duck happily remains stuck in my Genny.
Phantasy Star II By Carl-Johan Brax
I am currently playing Phantasy Star II, and man, do I have a lot of thoughts about this game. I play it now without the hint book and map, unlike the first time I played it. It actually makes the game easier, because then you’ll prowl around the dungeons several times, making your characters so strong the enemies will be no match for you. If you stare yourself blind at the hint book, no leveling will be done and the enemies will be harder. But, I was also just turning teen when I played it for the first time, so no wonder the game is easier now.
My all time favourite game is Phantasy Star IV. It feels unfair to compare that game to the prequel that was released four years earlier. Still, in my opinion, the characters and compositions are worse, and the story is no way as epic. There are almost no boss fights, the battles are monotonous and the A.I. is incredibly stupid. Say there are three of a kind of monsters you’re fighting against. Nei hits one monster with one claw, and another monster with her second claw. Rolf slashes the third monster with his sword. All three monsters attack, then Rudo can kill one monster with his gun. If Rolf and Nei put all their strength at one monster, they would have killed at least one before the monsters’ attacks started.
But this just adds to the difficulty that number four lacks. The dungeons are also more complicated in this game. Since the story isn’t epic, as I mentioned earlier, you’ll have to find out where to go a lot by yourself. That can be what those who seek a challenge want and is also probably the major reason why so many think this is the best game of the series. For me, it doesn’t matter which one is the best, just be sure to get the whole tetralogy.