Choosing the best 32X games is a little like deciding which of the world’s deadliest diseases has the nicest personality. There’s not a lot of choice, and no one really wants to make that decision when they could be playing on the best SNES games with a smile on their face.
Still, that’s why you put your trust in Retro Dodo; we do the dirty work so you don’t have to, testing the games that make others cringe to bring you a definitive answer on these crucial issues.
Like the Sega CD, the Sega 32X was an add on that could have gone on to bigger and better things but ended up being a great flop.
Flop is too nice a word; it was a commercial failure.
It’s probably the most boring console ever made, so much so that Sega even pretended some of its games didn’t exist.
Though, as my contract states that I have to be 100% impartial and treat all consoles fairly, we’ve decided to rate 20 of the available games for you below. I’ve even added a handy facts section at the bottom of the article for readers to learn more about this interesting add-on.
N.B – At the risk of being fired, I’ve disregarded impartiality completely. Buckle up, folks; this is going to be an informative but bumpy ride.
20. Golf Magazine: 36 Great Holes
Starring Fred Couples
First up on our list of the best 32X games is Golf Magazine: 36 Great Holes starring Fred Couples. Not only does this win the prize for the longest game name ever, but it also tells you everything you need to know about the game from the off.
36 great holes, one superstar golfer in the form of Fred Couples, and an official sponsorship from Golf Magazine. What more could a person want in life?
Players searching for a more realistic golfing experience than Mario Golf Open Tournament could use real people on real-looking courses.
And let’s be honest, they didn’t look half bad (the courses, that is).
Change player outfits and clubs, choose a shot style and position, and then ride that power meter all the way to the clubhouse. The game received mixed reviews, but it’s hardly going to break records is it.
What does it think it is, Wii Sports Golf or something?
19. Cosmic Carnage
Cosmic Carnage is one of those titles that is so atrociously bad that it is actually fun to play. It wouldn’t be on our list of the best 32X games otherwise!
How many other games can gamers see an anthropomorphic ant battling a woman whose only claim to fame is that her head is always on fire?
And if that doesn’t sound like the best combination, how about a female snake siren going up against an alien with a scorpion stinger?
Cosmic Carnage is essentially Mortal Kombat in space. It follows the same button mashing-style and match rules as every fighting game that you’ve ever played, but this one has the weirdest characters ever thought up by humankind.
This game came out as a launch title, and man was it a failure. Even Sega pretended it didn’t exist at the time.
But you know what? It’s made me laugh a lot over the years, and that’s got to be worth something. The characters might be weird, and it’ll never be mentioned in the same sentence as Super Mario Bros. Ultimate (apart from now), but it’s great to poke fun at.
Next up in our list of the best 32X games is Tempo, one of the best looking games on the console.
The gameplay wasn’t incredibly hard, but that’s not what made this game so exciting. Visually, it was stunning, crossing a side-scroller with a cartoon using hand-drawn backgrounds that never failed to catch the eye.
Tempo is one of those titles that you don’t play to win eternal glory after defeating a boss; its a title that you sit back with and enjoy the ride.
The plot is fairly simple, if a little uninspiring. Tempo and his mate Katy star on a show and have to defeat a boss at the top of a tower.
Think of it as a cartoon-style Running Man with all of the good parts of Running Man removed.
Listen, it’s another flop, but it’s a good looking one. It might only take a couple of hours to finish, but it’ll be a couple of hours that you’ll cherish and enjoy forever…
17. Motocross Championship
Motocross Championship takes the 17th spot on this list of the best 32X games of all time. If golf doesn’t incite fits of excitement, then this could well be the sporting title title that you’ve been waiting for.
Though it’s highly unlikely.
The whole thing feels like a rushed attempt of mimicking the success of Road Rash. The graphics are a little rough-and-ready, but the gameplay itself isn’t that bad. Let’s face it, it’s hard to get the concept of racing laps wrong.
12 riders, 12 courses, 1 mission; get first position by any means necessary. Players punch and kick opponents while avoiding obstacles and jumping over hills. If you want to get really fancy, then players can pull off swish moves and tricks like wheelies and sitting on handlebars.
The multiplayer was pretty fun, but it couldn’t live up to some of the two-player racing titles in our best Sega Genesis Games list.
Still, those looking for alternative racing titles who refuse to believe that Mario Kart is the bet racing game ever should definitely give it a whirl.
Kolibri is another stunning looking title with graphics that remind me of a revamped version of the Lion King game.
In a move away from controlling sea creatures such as James Pond and Ecco the Dolphin, gamers control a Hummingbird through various puzzles and tricky situations.
Here’s a quick lowdown of what’s going on in Kolibri. One space-age crystal gives birth to life, and then another one falls down and starts to take it away. A brave little Hummingbird soaks up the last of the good crystals power and has to save the world.
Talk about a big task to have resting on your shoulders… wings… you get the idea.
Like Tempo, Kolibri makes this list of the best 32X games due to its looks and not its gameplay. Its a tough cookie to crack, but it’s not going to replace Ocarina of Time or Metal Gear Solid from your favourite-game-pedestal.
15. Shadow Squadron
Continuing the run of slightly disappointing games that have clawed their way into this list of the best 32X games through sheer tenacity, our next title is Shadow Squadron.
Imagine Star Fox crossed with Rogue Squadron; that’s basically Shadow Squadron in a nutshell. Unfortunately, it’s also very much like a watered down version of another great title that features further down this list, which ultimately knocks marks off the game’s score.
Something else that knocks marks off is the fact that it’s a little flat. The free roaming gameplay is nice and the control panel adds that futuristic vibe, but it’s not a game that you’d come back to time and time again.
Still, in the overall list of 40 Sega 32X games ever released, it’s one of the best, mainly as it has such a strong Star-Wars feel about it.
Defend Outpost 51 from alien invasion. Fire lasers and missiles, destroy enemy craft, raise energy shields, and fly through the depths of space. Shadow Squadron remains a great idea that was almost executed perfectly. It just lacked the extra ‘oomph’ to make it great.
14. The Amazing Spider-Man: Web of Fire
The Amazing Spider-Man: Web of Fire released exclusively on the Sega 32X back in the day, making the add-on a must have for Marvel fans.
This game is far better than people make it out to be, though sadly most of the world had already stopped caring about the 32X at this point. The game released after Sega announced the discontinuation of the 32X, so there’s no real surprise.
What might surprise you is that Spider-Man isn’t the only Marvel hero to feature in this game. Spidey teams up with Daredevil to push back the forces of H.Y.D.R.A and other villains from the Marvel universe in this wall-crawling, side-scrolling title.
Spidey can kick, punch, and shoot webs at enemies as he makes his way across New York City. The levels don’t look as good as Kolibri, but the gameplay more than makes up for it.
Comix Zone fans will love the way the game plot is told through newspaper cuttings, and Marvel fans won’t be able to stop shooting enemies with Spidey’s trademark web attack.
It’s a shame this game didn’t get the credit it deserved at the time. Perhaps we can change that!
13. WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game
WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game takes the 13th spot on this list of the best 32X games of all time!
Midway knew how to make amazing games back in the day. Take Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam, two Sega 32X games that you may well be seeing further down this list. They used the same formula to make the original Wrestlemania arcade cabinet game, creating an instant winner.
Acclaim took the title and turned it into one of the best, and most unique wrestling games on any home console.
Why is it so unique? Well, for starters, it’s more like a fighting game and less like a wrestling game. It’s basically Mortal Kombat with famous wrestling faces, which is the equivalent of seeing all of your favourite Nintendo characters battling against each other for the first time in Smash Bros.
Eight characters appeared in this brutal but cartoony fighting title including Shawn Michaels, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, and The Undertaker.
Oh, and Doink the Clown too, but I never really cared about him.
WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game boasts multiple single player modes to keep gameplay interesting and a multiplayer mode for pulling off gnarly moves against mates. Seriously, this and Spiderman are two titles you should definitely have in your list.
N.B – Keep reading, it gets better from here on out!
12. Metal Head
Pacific Rim-style warriors battling through city streets; it has to be Metal Head!
Metal Head is one of the first games for the 32X where we see those fully texture-mapped polygons coming into their own. The street scenes looks great and corners no longer felt super pixelated.
It’s a great-looking game visually and a sure-fire winner for any fans of the Zion robot scene in the Matrix.
Metal Head is basically Crazy Taxi with robots. Ok, so players don’t take soldiers to specified locations in robots to earn a wage, but they do have a time limit to destroy a certain number of mecha-warriors on each mission.
A commander from the characters Armed Forces Unit appears at the beginning of each level to explain what’s what, setting the scene for the level and pumping gamers up for what’s to come.
Metal Heads is one of many first-person-cockpit-view games on the Sega 32X. It bears a lot of similarities in gameplay style to Sewer Shark, though thankfully that annoying dude from the FMV clips doesn’t show up in this title!
11. Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure
Next up on our list of the best 32X games is Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure. Everyone loves a Pitfall game, and finally Harry looks like a real person instead of a bald pipe cleaner with legs.
That’s how I’m often described, come to think of it…
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure was hugely successful on the Genesis and Mega Drive. It basically earned it’s place in this list long before we even thought about writing it, but there are some things that I need to get off my chest about it.
Before I start, let’s clarify that the gameplay is solid. Agreed? Good.
Now, the Sega 32X was meant to be this super amazing add-on, and the Sega 32X port of Mayan Adventure looked most like the Windows 95 version of the time. The 32X port, however, played at 30fps, half of what Windows could conjure up.
This meant that gameplay was laggy, making a fast-paced running game slow and frustrating. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I would recommend getting the Sega CD version over the 32X port.
I know, I must be feeling ill!
Still, if you have a 32X and want to buy decent games for it, then this is one of the best of the bunch. Just don’t compare it side-by-side with the other Sega ports.
10. Primal Rage
Primal Rage takes the 10th spot in this list of the best 32X games of all time.
Imagine, if you will, Mortal Kombat featuring animals battling to secure the fate of an apocalyptic earth. Then imagine those animals at the hands of a player wielding a 6-button Sega remote, with gamers pulling off brutal finisher moves and gory attacks.
That’s Primal Rage in a nutshell. Finally, a game I’m properly excited to write about!
Yes, that is a Tyranasaurus Rex named Sauron. He stays immortal by eating human flesh , and he fights on the side of the good guys!
Two factions of monsters fight to control the fate of ‘Urth’, the new name for the post apocalyptic planet Earth.
I’m from the North of England; that’s how everyone says Earth in my accent!
Good apes and dinos fighting bad apes and dinos in a fight to the death; what’s not to love. Get this game; you won’t be disappointed.
9. Space Harrier
Space Harrier is up next, a space-shooter boasting a flying human rather than a space ship.
Yeah, you heard that right!
‘The NeverEnding Story’ and ‘Gundam’ play big parts in Space Harrier’s creation, and that can only ever be a good thing. Sega certainly knew how to create gnarly rail-shooters, and this fantasy sci-fi world sets the scene for one of the best.
The 32X port is closer to the original arcade game than any other port, with updated graphics that make it even more enjoyable to play.
Space Harrier uses a clever homing system where the player cannot miss their intended target. If players remain in range, then they’ll score a direct hit.
Some levels see the main character flying on the back of a dragon too. It’s one of our favourite and best Master System games and a title that every 32X fan should own.
8. Star Wars Arcade
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars Arcade, dropped into out lives and changed them forever.
The game looks incredible on the 32X, proving that the console add-on can get it right sometimes.
Fans of Rogue Squadron won’t need any persuading to buy this title. It’s the first in a long line of Star Wars arcade games and follows the events of A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.
There are only three levels, a factor that accounts to why so many critics said this game had poor replay value. But in the moment, behind the controls of a rebel fighter shooting down Tie Fighters, it’s the greatest game in the world.
Whether gunning down a Star Destroyer or completing the famous run down the Death Star to blow the station into smithereens, this game is a Star Wars fan’s dream come true.
In all honesty, I think the critics got it wrong with this one. Star Wars Arcade is a cracking game, much better than Shadow Squadron, and a joy to play.
7. Virtua Racing Deluxe
Virtua Racing Deluxe takes the 7th spot in our list of the best 32X games of all time. This game was a triumph as both an arcade cabinet and home console title, and the 32X really souped up the graphics.
It closely replicates the arcade title, though the enhanced visuals make the game much nicer to look at. The cars are clearly defined, the tracks resemble roads, and the textures in the backgrounds are much more pleasing.
The Genesis version of Virtua Racing renders 9,000 polygons per second thanks to the Sega Virtua Processing chip inside the cartridge. That’s way more than a Genesis can handle, and the cartridge cost a bomb to make up for the new tech inside.
Back in the day, US gamers paid $100 for this bad boy, with a £70 price tag slapping English gamers around the face.
I know I’ve slated this console within an inch of its life throughout this article, but the 32X is my favourite way to play Virtua racing. It’s crisp, smooth, and clear, and the extra cars and tracks on the 32X port are a nice touch.
Blackthorne can best be described as a cross between Castlevania and Prince of Persia. It’s classed as a a cinematic platform game and bypassed the Genesis entirely, heading straight to the 32X .
The 32X port boasts an extra area compared to the SNES and Mac ports of Blackthorne, taking the total number of worlds up to 5. The initial game had 17 levels and 4 worlds, giving Sega gamers more fantasy bang for their buck.
I’m starting to say much more positive things about the 32X; could this list be slowly converting me into a die-hard fan?
Let’s not go that far, eh?
Players control Kyle “Blackthorne” Vlaros in his battle against Sarlac. Set on the planet Tuul, Kyle runs and climbs along side-scrolling levels knocking back bad guys and dodging bullets in nicely textured levels.
The game was great on the SNES, but the 32X added a visual flair that turned it into a proper classic. It’s about as far from Cosmic Carnage as you could possibly get!
And for once, critics praised the 32X version as being the best of the bunch! Hallelujah, finally a game on this thing that reviewers liked!
5. Virtua Fighter
Virtua Fighter needs no real introduction, especially for any Sega gamers reading this article.
It’s an institution and a firm favourite for fans of the fighting genre. These games have gone on to span across multiple consoles, with Virtua Fighter 5 proving one of the most popular Xbox 360 games made for the console.
In a change from 2D fighters in the legendary Street Fighter II, Virtua Fighter sees 3D warriors battling it out in pixelated perfection.
So they look a little like the characters in the Dire Straits ‘Money For Nothing’ music video, but who cares. This was 3D fighting, and it looked good at the time.
The single player mode used the same pre-determined battle order as Killer Instinct on the DMG, with gamers fighting eight characters (including themselves) before the final boss.
Like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, gamers battle in a ‘best of three’ format with a timer counting down the remaining seconds. Pressing buttons together in different combos brought up a whole host of moves for each character too to spice things up.
I’m pretty sure that Doom features in every list that I write for Retro Dodo. So many people love this title, and it’s not hard to see why. It changed everything in the world of first-person shooters, and many of our favourite games simply wouldn’t exist without it.
Still, it wasn’t without its controversies. Doom for the 32X remains one of the first ever video games to bear an M for Mature rating due to its gore and satanic references.
I would have thought that a game where players constantly fend off demons from another dimension should come with an M rating as standard, but what do I know?
The M rating didn’t stop kids all over the globe getting their hands on this classic title, much to the worry of their mothers. Gamers control ‘Doomguy’, a fitting name given to this unknown space marine hero by the retro gaming world.
Take on hordes of monsters, terrors, ghouls, and ugly demons single-handedly while trying to stay alive in this chaotic title. It’s hardly Destiny or Metroid Prime, but we wouldn’t have either of those without it.
Sony still holds the title of having the best-looking Doom port, but the 32X certainly gives them a run for their money.
3. Mortal Kombat II
Mortal Kombat II takes the bronze medal in this list of the best 32x games of all time. This list is slowly morphing into our list of the best 90s games right before our very eyes!
Ask anyone with a brain and eyes, and they’ll say that Mortal Kombat II is still one of the best fighting games of all time. It was way more brutal than Street Fighter, and although Sauron the T-Rex is pretty cool, Primal Rage can’t compete with the likes of Sub-Zero and Kung Lao!
While the SNES port reigns supreme in pretty much everyone’s eyes, the 32X version boasted vibrant levels and proved a must-have title for the add-on, especially for those who managed to pick one up for $19.95 (check out the facts at the bottom of the article when you’re done for more info!)
The format is the same as every other fighting game in this list. Kick and punch your way to victory, using special moves along the way to relieve opponents of some of their valuable blood.
The main thing that sets Mortal Kombat II apart is that characters sometimes pulled off ‘fatality’ killing moves. These would involve anything from charring the skin off someones bones to freezing them solid and breaking them into 1,000 pieces.
That makes ‘HADOUKEN’ look a bit tame, doesn’t it!
2. Knuckles ‘Chaotix
Up next on our list of the best 32X games is Knuckle’s Chaotix, a refreshing take on the usual Sonic the Hedgehog format.
Ok, I think Knuckles is awesome, so this game was always going to be one of my best 32X games. The fact is that it provides a totally different dynamic to the other Sonic titles; it switches the gameplay style up and makes players think more rather then just zooming from a to b as fast as humanly possible.
Knuckles plays each level tethered to a different character. The five Chaotix include Vector the Croc, a firm favourite from Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games titles, and Mighty the Armadillo, another memorable Sonic character from the original arcade title.
Players must work together with their tethered character, controlled either by the computer or a friend. The aim, as with every Sonic game, is to stop Robotnik from wreaking havoc. This time, he’s after the Chaos Rings, and Metal Sonic has come along for the ride.
In the eyes of many, this game stinks. I disagree, however; I see this title as Sega trying something new, and I like the new teamwork dynamic. It feels very much like something that Nintendo would do, and it worked in the popular game ‘Brothers’.
Just because it’s different doesn’t mean its bad! (Unless we’re talking about the 32X as a whole, then it does).
1. NBA Jam T.E
Finally, NBA Jam T.E takes the gold medal as the best 32X game for this questionable add-on.
NBA Jam was a cracking game, and the Tournament Edition brought tonnes of new and exciting features to the court.
It’s not a case of NBA Jam T.E having the best visuals of the best storyline, but this title was one of the most talked about releases for a console that had hardly any games releasing on it.
It’s the most accurate port of the arcade version, something that the 32X seems to continually get right at any rate, and Midway nailed the gameplay.
A firm favourite in our list of the best Atari Jaguar games, NBA Jam T.E is one heck of a sports game and the ultimate title for epic tournaments with your mates.
Not only does this title take first position in our list, but it’s also the ‘first’ in lots of other respects. It’s the first NBA Jam title in the series and the first to use licensed players. It also generated $1-billion in arcades, which is probably a first too!
The tournament edition had tonnes of new and exciting features including hidden Easter eggs, new rosters, better music, and other modes. It’s a tour-de-force and carried the 32X.
That must have been one hell of a heavy weight to have on its shoulders!
When Was The Sega 32X Released?
November 21, 1994.
That holiday season promised so much excitement. Demand for this console was high, though Sega unfortunately failed to deliver. 26 years later, the 32X has become a highly sought after collectors item.
How Many Sega 32X Add-Ons Sold?
That’s a pretty poor show and yet another example of Sega getting their marketing all wrong. Japan wanted a new console, but America wanted an add-on, though they never could agree on anything.
The Sega Saturn announcement all but destroyed customer interest in this thing, despite it having another planet themed nickname of ‘Project Mars’. The 32X first retailed at $159.00 but ended its life with a shameful $19.95 price tag.
How Many Sega 32X Games Are There?
40 games have been made over the 32X’s lifetime.
No, that isn’t a typo; the 32X only had 40 games. Some of those required the Sega CD as well as the 32X add-on, bringing two of the most disappointing products together in one place!
Many of the titles are revamped versions of old Genesis/Mega Drive titles, and there are about 20 cancelled titles that never saw the light of day.
Which Games Launched With The Sega 32X?
Six games including Cosmic Carnage, Doom, Star Wars Arcade, and Virtua Racing Deluxe lined store shelves along with the 32X on release day.
Sega promised more, though only six titles materialised at the beginning.
What Are The Best 32X Games?
This is a list of 20 of the best 32X games that I’ve played throughout my life. Some are so bad that they are great by default, while others are genuinely amazing games that, despite the add-ons brief lifespan, tried their hardest to keep this console afloat.
How Do I Buy Sega 32X Games?
Many of the best 32X games are hard to come by. They’re all second hand and in varying condition, though some are complete and still in their original packaging.
Any hyperlink, button, or picture above will take you through to an official buying page for the game in question. At the time of writing, some games were in plentiful supply, while others only showed one or two cartridges for sale.
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.