EZ Racer's Blog

Posted on Apr 12th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (EZ Racer)
Posted under genesis, sega, sonic, streets of rage, shining force, top 20

"Genesis Does what Nintendon't!"

But let's get more specific, what are the games that best show what the Genesis does?

We had 10 members submit their list for the best Genesis games, and the results were pretty varied, though 6 different games appeared on at least 5 lists. Members that submitted a list:

EZ Racer
Disposed Hero

No entry had more than 7 votes, so it really did come down to ranking, and the number 1 game on the list took advantage of that. It was also interesting that out of ten lists, nine different games got a #1 vote. There were a lot of games that got at least some love, as more than 100 games got at least one vote. You can see thoughts about all the great games not listed here on the submissions thread- http://www.rfgeneration.c...topic=19279.msg272042#new

Also, hope you'll join us for April's list, which tackles Nintendo's first 3D home console, the N64- http://www.rfgeneration.c...m/index.php?topic=19297.0

Sorry we kept you waiting, let's get to the games that just missed the cut

Honorable Mentions-

28. Vectorman
3 votes (#19, #16, #8)

"One of the best run n gun shooters of the era showing that the SNES isnt the only one that can prerender their games"

"Sega's answer to Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, Vectorman was visually impressive, as well as being fun to play. Vectorman as a character lacked something, but it did allow you to kind of put yourself in his place, since he's just a blank avatar."

27. Shadow Dancer
3 votes (#19, #11, #10)

"Tends to get overshadowed by Shinobi III, but this is the better game in my opinion."

26. Earthworm Jim
2 votes (#13, #3)

"Most of the highlights of the Genesis library would be Japanese games, but this is a Western developed title that deserves recognition. Earthworm Jim is an unlikely, yet affable hero that has loads of personality. The game won audiences over with smooth animation, fun music, and a lot of good sight gags. Underneath all that, there's a pretty good action platformer here, as well!"

"What a great blend of comedy, action and style! It can be pretty hard at times, but it's fair in its design and with the jamming soundtrack and stunning look I've always found it impossible to get frustrated with this gem. Its also got that extra funky bass sound that the SNES cant quite pull off."

25. Columns
3 votes (#19, #17, #3)

"Sega's answer for the popularity that was Tetris. The primary game mode can be quite punishing, but the endless mode is a ton of fun, with the game slowly ramping up speed and difficulty, giving the player an opportunity to score massive amounts of points. The 3 songs complement the game's minimalist, zen presentation, and are memorable companions while you play."

24. Ecco the Dolphin
3 votes (#16, #14, #5)

"Who thought a game about a dolphin could be fun?  Sega sure knew how to make Genesis games."

23. Quackshot
3 votes (#15, #15, #5)

"This is an early example of a "Metroidvania" lite kind of experience on the Genesis. It's also one of the best non-Capcom Disney licensed games out there. Rather than killing most enemies, you stun them with your plunger gun, to safely walk on by. You also use plungers to help you climb walls, and solve puzzles. You find new things to aid you in your journey to find lost treasure as you go, and some backtracking will be required to complete a couple levels. It's a very charming game, with great graphics, a great soundtrack, and a lot of personality."

22. ToeJam and Earl
2 votes (#6, #4)

21. Dynamite Headdy
3 votes (#15, #10, #7)

"Such a unique way to approach an action platformer. Being able to change your head out to a variety of specialized heads makes for all sorts of interesting levels and ways to play. Lots of fun and very bright and colorful.

.....And now for the best of the best.....

So that brings us to the Top 20, and a disclaimer. One voter combined Sonic 3 and Knuckles, and I decided to include in the ranks for Sonic and Knuckles.

Also, a BIG thanks to Wempster and Disposed Hero for putting together a video version of the list, be sure to check it out- https://youtu.be/VoomYzhNKe0

20. Sonic and Knuckles (70 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1994)
Genre- Platformer
3 lists (#18, #11, #2)

"Just a huge sprawling Sonic game. Knuckles is great, new shields are great, new zones are great, 3D bonus stages are a nice addition, and wowzers some of those songs are always on my playlist."

19. Golden Axe II (71 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1992)
Genre- Beat 'em up
3 lists (#15, #10, #4)

"Better hit detection, controllable magic meter, longer, and more playable than the first installment. A great two player effort that only falls a little short on the environments and sounds/music in the original."

"A little different than its predecessor, but still a great game that I love almost as much as the original."

"Objectively a better game to the original Genesis conversion of the arcade hit, this game sees improvement in the graphics and music, as well as to the overall formula, even if those improvements are slight. Most noticeably, the magic system is upgraded, allowing you to hold down the button to decide how much magic power to use, or press once for a small magic attack."

18. Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (76 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1990)
Genre- Platformer
3 lists (#18, #6, #4)

"Kind of a sluggish feeling game, but pretty fun once you get a good feel for it."

"This platformer is a classic. Beautiful graphics, that showcased what Sega was capable of, and put their stamp on Disney games, which Nintendo had a hold on, during the NES. It was remade recently, proving that, this game has a decent and loyal following, but also that it is still appealing enough, to gain new fans."

17. Outrun (79 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1991)
Genre- Racing
4 lists (#18, #17, #14, #2)

"Sega's popular arcade racing game, ported to Genesis. While not as good as the arcade version, it is still a worthy port, that is as entertaining, as it is iconic."

"I'm no fan of racing games, but Outrun was always more of a driving game, seeing you cruising the countryside in your Ferrari, while cranking up great tunes on the car radio. The Genesis port isn't 1:1 with the arcade game, but it does a pretty good job of capturing that experience as much as it can, on the hardware. The Genesis renditions of the different music in the game do an admirable job of sounding like their arcade counterparts."

16. Comix Zone (79 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1995)
Genre- Beat 'em up
3 lists (#13, #6, #5)

"Still to this day has one of my favorite visual styles in any game. The presentation of the game being done in comic style panels is gorgeous. The gameplay is no slouch either with a strong beat em up mechanics and some cool opportunities for secrets hidden inside the comic book!"

15. Golden Axe (84 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1989)
Genre- Beat 'em up
4 lists (#20, #18, #9, #2)

"Writing out this list really highlighted how much I enjoy beat em ups on the Genesis. This one is pretty basic, but its fun in its simplicity. I love the swords and sorcery theme and Gilius is the man!"

"A great beat 'em up with a very distinctive style and feel. This is one of the very few games in existence that I actually wish was longer."

14. Phantasy Star IV (86 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1994)
Genre- RPG
3 lists (#12, #6, #2)

"I've often heard that Phantasy Star IV was Sega's answer to all the great SNES RPGs and is just as good as anything that Squaresoft was producing at the time. That ain't even close to being true, but this is still a pretty good RPG that's well worth checking out."

13. Disney's Aladdin (89 pts)

Publisher- Sega, Disney Interactive (1993)
Genre- Platformer
4 lists (#15, #14, #10, #3)

"This is the ultimate version of Aladdin from the music to the gameplay.  This is Aladdin done right."

"This game is widely disputed among gamers, as to which 16-bit console, had the better port. The Genesis version, is better IMO."

12. Streets of Rage (94 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1991)
Genre- Beat 'em up
4 lists (#16, #8, #8, #7)

"The beginning of a great series. It can feel a bit barebones compared to its sequels, but it's still a great beat 'em up that every fan of the genre should play."

"Most will go with 2, but when I think Streets of Rage I think of the first one. This has a really cool soundtrack, great visual style to it and lots of street thugs to beat down!!"

"This iconic beat 'em up, is my favorite of the series. Sega took the success of games like Double Dragon, and made their own success."

"Bring the hate! Yep, I think it's a better game than its sequel. A tougher game to finish, but very fair."

11. Shinobi III (96 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1993)
Genre- Action Platformer
3 lists (#7, #4, #4)

"Many would point to this game's predecessor, Revenge of Shinobi, as the favorite, but I believe this is arguably the better game. While not a Yuzo Koshiro soundtrack, it's still a fantastic set of chiptunes to listen to. Also, the game's levels are interesting and varied, and the addition of the jump kick move gives the game even more versatility. The new autoscrolling levels bring in more variety, as well."

"This was the action-platformer, that I brought over to other buddy's (that didn't have a Sega) houses, to show them what Nintendidn't. This one is so easy to pick up. The soundtrack and gameplay, are near perfection, and it has few flaws. Plus Ninjas. 'Nuff Said."

"My favorite in the Shinobi series. Tougher than Shadow Dancer and well worth putting lots of time into."

10. Rocket Knight Adventures (101 pts)

Publisher- Konami (1993)
Genre- Platformer, Shooter hybrid
4 lists (#13, #10, #10, #1)

"Very bright and cheerful action heavy platformer. Has some really cool moments in some levels with the rocket pack abilities.

"Amazing platformer, none of the sequels/spins-off even came close."

9. TMNT: The Hyperstone Heist (103 pts)

Publisher- Konami (1992)
Genre- Beat 'em up
4 lists (#13, #8, #6, #6)

"Even if youre not into TMNT there is a really strong beat em up here with a great variety of levels, enemies and bosses. One of the best beat em ups around!"

"It's kind of a pale imitation of Turtles in Time, but this is still a great beat 'em up and well worth playing, even if you've already played Turtles in Time to death."

"Turtles in Time is much better IMO, but this game is still amazing. Best enjoyed co-op, Hyperstone Heist offers a fun round, of beat-em-up goodness."

8. Shining Force (132 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1993)
Genre- Strategy RPG
4 lists (#11, #3, #3, #1)

"We never really got Fire Emblem in the West until much later. What we did have though, was Shining Force. While I do love the Fire Emblem series, it wasn't Nintendo that gave me my first Turn-based, tactical RPG. I remember putting many hours into this when I first played it. It still holds up IMO."

"Easily my favorite game on the Genesis. Most people would put the sequel before it, but those people would be WRONG."

"I feel like Shining Force II is the better game, but something about the original just stands out to me more. Shining Force just has more charm and character than most other strategy RPGs."

7. Gunstar Heroes (136 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1993)
Genre- Run n Gun Shooter
5 lists (#16, #10, #6, #5, #2)

"This game sees Treasure beating Konami (who formerly employed several of these designers) at their own game. This is arguably the finest "run and gun" game of the 16-bit era, with amazing set pieces, fun weapons to use, colorful graphics, interesting locations, cool game mechanics, and a wacky sense of humor that permeates the whole thing. If Contra: Hard Corps hadn't been made more difficult in its localization, it's possible that could have been a contender, but ultimately, Gunstar Heroes just does almost everything better."

"A great run 'n gun action game that is a definite must-play!"

"Super fun run 'n gun. The best on the Genesis."

6. Lightening Force (138 pts) (#6, #4, #4, #1)

Publisher- Technosoft, Sega (1993)
Genre- Shoot 'em up
4 lists (#6, #4, #4, #1)

"Some say MUSHA is the best shmup on the system, but I have to disagree. Although the former commands a much higher price. LF is a much better game and will save you some cash. Some of the best backgrounds ever in a shmup.

"Best shump on the MD by far."

"There's no doubt this was going to be my #1 pick. The BEST shoot-em-up of the 16-bit era, bar none. This game is Technosoft's crown jewel, with amazing levels, graphics that pushed the Genesis to the limit, an astounding soundtrack that is among the most famous of its time, and legendary difficulty. This game has everything you want from a shooter, and is just so good, nothing else can even touch it."

5. Sonic the Hedgehog (156 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1991)
Genre- Platformer
6 lists (#20, #18, #7, #7, #2, #1)

"Most people would expect to see the game's sequel on the list, but I still prefer the original. Yes, the spindash was a great upgrade, but the level design in the original is tight. The graphics are colorful, without being too bright and garish, and the soundtrack is sublime. The sequel is a worthy game, but the original will always have my heart.

"Im a sucker for a good platformer. While the sequels may have outdone it (as they should) there is still a lot of charm in the original."

"Genesis' answer to Mario. A great platformer, and good game. Gotta go fast!"

4. Castlevania Bloodlines (167 pts)

Publisher- Konami (1994)
Genre- Action Platformer
6 lists (#17, #11, #9, #4, #3, #1)

"A different, but great addition to the Castlevania series. Two characters to choose from and branching paths for each."

"Hard as heck, but graphically beautiful, and worthy of any die-hard Castlevania fan."

"Pretty solid entry into the Castlevania franchise. Great tunes, cool levels all the way through."

"Sort of the black sheep of the series, but this is still a solid game that every Castlevania fan should play."

"While appreciating the quality behind the games, I had never been a big fan of the Castlevania series. Then recently, I played Bloodlines, and was blown away by the smoother, more fluid feel of the game, in addition to great music and interesting environments. I know I'm in the minority in saying this, but it's by far my favorite Castlevania experience."

3. Sonic 2 (176 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1992)
Genre- Platformer
7 lists (#19, #17, #11, #9, #7, #1, #1)

"This is not just my favorite Sonic game I think its also the best game on the Genesis. I never get tired of running through the confusion that is the Chemical Plant Zone, grooving my way through the Mystic Cave Zone or methodically navigating past the Metropolis Zone. Maybe my favorite bonus stages of all time with the halfpipes. And if you can get enough emeralds to unleash Super Sonic you just feel truly invincible. The tense final battle against both Metal Sonic and Robotnik is a true test of skill. That boss music is second to none."

"The best Sonic game, IMO. Sonic 2 made just the right tweaks and improvements on the first game."

2. Shining Force II (176 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1994)
Genre- Strategy RPG
5 lists (#5, #5, #4, #2, #1)

"I credit the Shining Force series, for introducing me to, and making me fall in love with the turn-based, tactical style, RPG's. Shining Force II was an improvement on the first game, hence it being higher on my list."

"The second best Shining Force game on the Genesis. Still a great RPG."

"I rented this game a ton as a kid and will always have a certain nostalgia for it. A great strategy RPG that every fan of the genre should play."

1. Streets of Rage 2 (238 pts)

Publisher- Sega (1992)
Genre- Beat 'em up
7 lists (#11, #5, #3, #3, #3, #2, #1)

"Arguably the best beat 'em up of all time. An impressively deep moveset, a rockin soundtrack, great level and enemy design, and the game just oozes style. Always a co-op favorite for my friends, and it's a game that we play through very frequently."

"I remember playing this over and over again with my friend.  This game never disappoints and is the best in the series."

"THE quintessential console beat-em-up game, this took the original game's formula and amped it up in almost every conceivable way. The character sprites are bigger, more detailed, and better animated. There are 4 characters to choose from now, instead of just 3. The action is better, with more moves, and individual super moves, instead of just callig in reinforcements. And Yuzo Koshiro's soundtrack is masterful, and one of the most iconic of the era. A must-own for action game fans."

Final Thoughts

So another system in the books. From a numbers standpoint, this list closely resembles the NES list, although it's interesting that the 20th place game would have easily made the Super NES and NES lists. Once again thanks to all who are getting involved each month, and hope you'll participate in April's list, the N64.

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Very nice! A couple surprises on the list, for sure, and a bit more representation for a couple series than I expected, but overall, a solid list, and one that I think any Genesis aficionado can get behind. Thanks for compiling the list! This was a fun read.
Great work organising and compiling the list EZ! With such a diverse sets of entries it must been a pain keeping all straight.

Interesting how much more action orientated this list is compared to the SNES one. Looking forward to the N64 list next month.
This list reminds me why I just don't get the appeal of the Genesis.  Outside of Shinging Force and maaaaybe Gunstar Heroes there just isn't anything here other than lesser ports of SNES games or genres that had better games on the SNES.  Streets of Rage 2 being #1 says it all - yikes!  And don't get me started on Sonic...
Very nice!  I wanted to get in on this, but I felt at the time my top choices were very narrow and would have gotten lost in the mix (Buck Rogers, Warriors of the Eternal Sun, Slime World, Road Rash, etc.), but I just couldn't get in enough Genesis gaming to justify turning a list in.  Though out of what popped up, Phantasy Star IV, Bloodlines, and SF II were there, and I can see I probably should have.  Anyway, very nice list guys, and there are some solid titles here that I need to play.
@Effinae: I have similar feelings towards Sonic and I used to feel the same way about the Genesis, but over the past few years, I have really dug into the system's library and find it an excellent system.  While I agree that some of the games on the SNES are better sometimes, both systems really excel in different areas. The SNES has a better array of RPGs and brawlers, while the Genesis dominates in shmups and platformers (and music IMHO).  I think comes down to preference in what genres you like. I'm also not a big fan of the DC, but I'm just not into fighters; other people are and for them I believe it's a more appealing system.

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