EZ Racer's Blog

Posted on Sep 12th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (EZ Racer)
Posted under top 20, sega, saturn, turbografx, tg16, splatterhouse, guardian heroes

So it's time for September's list after a short hiatus in August, but instead of looking at just one system, we looked two systems that didn't quite reach the mainstream sales of their competitors, but had some excellent titles nonetheless.

The TurboGrafx 16 was ahead of its time with some of the innovations it brought to the gaming world, and several titles have become "cult classics" at the very least. Produced by NEC alongside Hudson Soft, it was marketed as a 16-bit console (though it was more of a hybrid between 8-bit and 16-bit technology) to compete with Sega's Genesis, and later Nintendo's Super NES.

The Saturn was Sega's fifth generation console, set to compete Sony's debut console, the Playstation, and eventually the Nintendo 64.

Despite their lower sales outside of Japan, both consoles had games that left an imprint on the market for years to come, and we had several RFGen members help decide what the best of those games were:


Rather than put one list followed by the other, I figured it would be more fun to rundown both lists simultaneously. So you'll get the #10 on each list with comments, then the #9 on both, and so on. One more note, there was a 3 way tie for #10 on the TG16 list, so that will kick things off.

Don't forget to join us in the voting for September's list, the Atari 2600. http://www.rfgeneration.c...m/index.php?topic=19385.0

With less votes for this month's list, we'll jump right into it. For some other great games that got some love, here's the submissions page http://www.rfgeneration.c...m/index.php?topic=19360.0

As always, a big thanks to Wempster and Disposed Hero for their work on the companion video-https://youtu.be/BBfvS8tDZy4

TG16 #10 (3-way tie)

Ninja Spirit

Released- 1990
Genre- Platformer

"Smooth and fast gameplay, never beat it, but hope to in the future."


Released- 1989
Genre- Adventure

Soldier Blade

Released- 1992
Genre- Shoot-em up

"The pinnacle of the Star Soldier series, this game is visually impressive, has a great soundtrack, and refines the formula to the point where it just does nearly everything right. Not to be missed."

Saturn #10 (technically tied for 9th)

Galactic Attack

Released- 1995
Genre- Shoot-em up

"known as RayForce, originally, this is a Taito arcade port that improves upon the original game with an updated soundtrack, and took the Xevious 2-layer attack focus to a whole new level. It also kicked off a trilogy of excellent shmups, and influenced many games since. A truly excellent game, worthy of space on any Saturn owner's shelf."

TG16 #9

Valis III

Released- 1992
Genre- Action Platformer

"A decent action platformer in the vein of Castlevania. Itís just very solid and not necessarily genre defining though."

"Excellent follow-up to the already solid 2nd game, and potentially the developer's best title on the hardware. A great action game."

Saturn #9 (tied with Galactic Attack)

Shining Wisdom

Released- 1996
Genre- Adventure

"The best Zelda clone I've ever played. Fantastic world to explore, great dungeons, and some pretty clever items to mess around with."

TG16 #8

Keith Courage in Alpha Zones

Released- 1989
Genre- Platformer

"I know it is not a fantastic game but the second half of all the stages when you transform into the faster, larger robot was awesome."

Saturn #8

Fighter's Megamix

Released- 1997
Genre- Fighting

"A crazy 3D fighting game that doesn't take itself entirely serious, but that is a good thing, in the case of this game, because it makes it that much more fun."

"The amount of insane characters in this game was unreal. For some reason I kept returning to this game time after time, such an odd-ball of a game. The only game I know of where you can fight as a CAR! Just thinking about this game, I am going to go home and play this when I get back home!"

TG16 #7

Legendary Axe

Released- 1989
Genre- Action Platformer

"This action hack and slack game takes a formula established by Astyanax (same developer), but really brings it into its own here, with a great combination of design, graphics, music, and atmosphere."

Saturn #7

Resident Evil

Released- 1997
Genre- Survival Horror

"not much else to say besides, my precious Saturn finally got Resident Evil! By this time I was getting pretty jealous of the Playstation."

TG16 #6

Devil's Crush

Released- 1990
Genre- Pinball

"Always loved pinball games, but this goes to a new level. Everyone should try this one."

"Quite possibly the best video pinball game of the 16-bit era."[/i]

Saturn #6

Dragon Force

Released- 1996
Genre- Tactics RPG

"Gorgeous SRPG with some of the most visually appealing battle screens of all time. Two armies clashing has never looked so good!"

"This is a top 5 best overall game for me. I have beat this game far too many times. The art style is amazing. I had never played this type of game before and I instantly became hooked by its concept. Taking over castles, cool story, ton of micro management, and bringing a TON of sprites with you onto the battlefield for what felt like epic battles. I still make it a point to play this game at least once a year."

TG16 #5

Bonk's Adventure

Released- 1990
Genre- Platformer

"An attempt to cash in the mascot platformer, this first outing for the TurboGrafx sees Bonk in colorful settings, and establishing an identity, while still feeling somewhat familiar."

"The game that got me to love Bonk as a character. Super fun."

"This is the pack in game that should have happened and part of the reason, I believe, that the Turbo Grafx-16 failed.  Bonk is a great platformer with colorful graphics and great sound with many silly bosses.  This is a definite play on the Turbo Grafx-16."

Saturn #5

Panzer Dragoon

Released- 1995
Genre- Rail Shooter

"Star Fox with dragons is all you need!"

"While technically, its sequel is the superior game, the original took the Star Fox formula, and really opened it up. It also has the better soundtrack, with the swelling opening theme, and stage 1's "Flight" track having such emotional resonance, that it makes the first few moments of the game something incredibly special. Great setpieces, awesome action, and a really cool system make this one not to miss."

TG16 #4

Blazing Lazers

Released- 1989
Genre- Shoot-em Up

"A competent, fun shmup from Compile and Hudson, but doesn't quite reach the heights of other shooters on the console."

"Some of the coolest power ups in a shmup. Nothing compares to filling the screen with huge bolts of lightning blasting out of your tiny spaceship when itís fully upgraded."

"Great music and amazing gameplay."

Saturn #4

Clockwork Knight

Released- 1995
Genre- Platformer

"In my opinion, this is the best platformer on the system that I played.  I played this game for hours and hours and when I eventually beat it, I went back for more.  I'm not sure what keeps bringing me back to this game but this is a platformer you need to try."

TG16 #3

Bonk's Revenge

Released- 1991
Genre- Platformer

"Takes the formula established by the original, and dials it up, improving upon it in nearly every way. The pinnacle of character platforming on the console."

"The Bonk's game I put a lot of time into. So colorful, and the characters were just really funny."

Saturn #3

Saturn Bomberman

Released- 1997
Genre- Action, puzzle

"Possibly the best multiplayer game of all time? So much fun with a large group, but still decent playing it solo."

"My friends and I have put hundreds of hours into this game just blowing each other up Friday nights."

TG16 #2

Lords of Thunder

Released- 1993
Genre- Shoot-em Up

"Easily one of my top shmups on any system. Wicked mashup of fantasy and futuristic tech. One of the best OSTs of all time!!"

"A spectacular combination of excellent shmup, killer soundtrack, and excellent design that really shows off the power of the CD system."

Saturn #2

Darius Gaiden

Released- 1994
Genre- Shoot-em Up

"The 2nd of 3 shmups we got in the West on the Saturn, again from Taito. Technically, this is Darius III, though it was different enough from the previous 2 games that Taito chose to change the nomenclature. Not only does this up the ante from the first 2 Darius games, but the amazing ZUNTATA soundtrack is legendarily good. Another transcendant experience."

TG16 #1


Released- 1990
Genre- Action horror

"Strong port of the Namco arcade gorefest. One of the selling points early in the life of the TurboGrafx."

"I was a huge fan of horror movies at the time [this was released], and this game was so satisfying to play."

...And the game that ran away with the voting...

Saturn #1

Guardian Heroes

Released- 1996
Genre- Beat-em Up

"Adds some RPG and exploration elements to give the brawler genre a nice upgrade"

"There are 3 games that just bring back memories of my best friends, a multitap, a large pizza, a ton of soda, and Friday night gaming sessions. All 3 are in the top 5 for this reason, and all 3 are AMAZING! This is one of the most interesting and fun beat em ups I have ever played as well. So many different paths to take, amazing art style and so many characters to unlock for the VS. section of the game."

"Treasure delivers again, with an amazing beat-em-up that adds new elements, and has a style that really gives the game a unique identity."

Final Thoughts

As someone with lesser knowledge of these systems, this was a really interesting list to put together, offering insight into several games that aren't quite as mainstream as what's been on other lists.

Thanks again to all who participated, and don't forget to join in on September's list- the Atari 2600.

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There were a few surprises here! I wasn't expecting to see Keith Courage in the list at all, and I didn't realize Guardian Heroes was so well loved that it could clinch the top spot. It's disappointing to see Blazing Lazers above Soldier Blade, but I assume the former is much more familiar, since it was a launch window game, and most anyone who owns a TurboGrafx owns (or has owned) a copy. Good stuff!

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