It’s 1991, and a sense of hidden excitement is floating through the air as the best SEGA Game Gear games begin working their marketing magic.
People are starting to call trainers ‘sneakers’ and painting them red and white, dying their hair blue and sticking it up into spines, and trying to convince their mates that they should start going by the name of ‘Tails’ or ‘Knuckles’ while walking about.
Yes, fellow gaming friends, we’re talking, of course, about the release of the SEGA Game Gear in North America and Europe.
No longer did SEGA fans have to stay inside while playing Sonic the Hedgehog or Streets Of Rage; they could be out on the streets themselves playing under their favourite tree or magical castle retreat with a pocket full of batteries in tow and all of their ‘return to level’ passwords scribbled down in the back of their maths book.
It’s been over 30 year since gamers held this little beauty in their hands, and while 30 years isn’t a usual milestone it’s still pretty impressive (and we need a good excuse for an article).
Heck, Sega are so proud of this handheld they they even released the Sega Game Gear Micro for you true collectors out there… was it a hit? No, but we’ll forget about that.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best SEGA Game Gear games that you’ve loved and lost your marbles over during the past 3 decades!
How could it be a best list without featuring the adorable Bubble Bobble? Released in 1994 Bubble Bobble is the story of two humans, Bub and Bob… try not to laugh. Who wander into a mysterious cave of magic and monsters when suddenly it turns them into dinosaurs.
The only way to transform them back into humans is by reaching the end this freaky cave. At the end of the game you find out they’ve just ate their weight in mushrooms… we’re joking! No mushrooms.
It’s a platformer game with each level being a single screen, a bit like the original Donkey Kong. One player controls Bub, and the other Bob.
But since Bub and Bob are now dinosaurs they have the ability to blow bubbles, allowing them to move around the map, attack enemies and use it to their advantage to reach the end of their level.
It’s a fun simple game, with two lovelable characters that for some reason, you can never forget about. Some say the game is slightly too short but that’s what makes the game so great.
It’s a game that you can give to a. friend knowing they’ll love it and hand it back to you within two weeks, because it’s the way we like our handheld games, short and sweet!
The NES version had a lot more stated bring it to a total of 112 stages, so we rccomend that if you want even more bubbly dinos!
Royal Stone was a Game Gear exclusive released in 1995 by SEGA. Unfortunately it was another game that was never released to us western folk, even though many passionate Game Gear collectors got it imported for a premium.
Some of you may know that this is a direct sequel to Crystal Warriors, another great strategy RPG game. What Royal stone was great at was simple, engaging storylines. Characters were memorable, moments happened in the game that caught your attention for minutes on end and it was a game that many loved because of this.
Royal Stone follow the story of Eva, a former Knight of Marltalia who managed to get exiled from her Kingdom for betraying the trust of the people and backstabbing her own friend and family. But as you move through the story, this becomes untrue.
Eventually you get thrown out and almost die, but due to magical ways you survive and its your duty to find armour, level up and regain your place in the Kingdom by coming out with the truth.
The game was loved by many due to the impressive graphics and styling of the game. Many loved the RPG aspect of it too with memorable NPC’s awesome locations and tactfully challenging enemies.
Sometimes we think that if Royal Stone made it to the US in huge numbers perhaps it could have became a bigger franchise than it already is, but again, nobody took that risk, unfortunately.
Are we the only ones that think the right eye on the box art looks very odd? No, just us? Puyo Puyo 2 is the second game of the Puyo Puyo series which was released in September 1994 by Compile.
Much like the first game Puyo fall from the top of the screen in pairs, and can be moved left, right and clockwise just like the game Tetris. What makes Puyo Puyo different to the original is the new set of rules.
The first new rule added was called “offsetting”. this allows you to counter bad Puyo’s being sent by your opponent, doing this can also send Puyo’s back to your opponent as an “attack”.
It has a very Tetris feel, with bright colours, intense sounds and fast gameplay. Due to its success, it became one of the most widely known multiplatform games in Japan, appearing in the Arcade, on major domestic consoles and on popular handhelds.
Puyo Puyo 2 has three different modes. Single Puyo Puyo, Double Puyo Puyo and Endless Puyo Puyo. These are harder modes with slightly different speeds, music and difficulties.
It was a huge hit in Japan and became popular on a bunch of future consoles, like the Gameboy Advance and even as late as the PS2!
We all love Mega Man, and SEGA fans were lucky enough to get a taste of him on the Game Gear handheld.
Mega Man is an action platformer game developed by Freestyle, but unfortunately it only saw a North American release in October 1995.
The game follows Mega Man as he fights against the mad scientist Dr.Willy and six of his Robot Masters which are under his control.
The levels feature big bosses that might be familiar from Mega Man 4 and Mega Man 5, which was a nice touch. Many called it one of the best Game gear games of all time, as it felt and sounded similar to that of the NES title.
But what many did’t like about it was the difficulty, many said that the enemies and bosses moved too quickly at times making it incredibly difficult to complete levels. Perhaps this was children complaining in the past, but still to this day it is deemed as a “hard” game to complete swiftly.
It was a colourful, somewhat deep game that kept its users intrigued for hours on end, and that combined with an awesome sound track is what it’s in our top list.
You’re probably wondering why Streets of Rage is so low on our list, but put your fists away, we can assure you the original is very high on our less, and that’s for good reason!
Streets Of Rage II is the second of the Game Gear games published by SEGA themselves in 1992. What’s different about this game is that it introduces two new characters known as Max “Thunder” hatch and Eddie “Skate” Hunter.
Which happens to be the younger brother of Adam Hunter from the original game. Streets Of Rage II still to this day is regarded as one of the best fighting games ever for the Game Gear and Mega Drive.
Streets of Rage 2 is a side scrolling beat em up in which one or two players fights against a number of waves of enemies. You can use your fists, or pick up weapons through each level in order to defeat every enemy that comes your way.
In Streets of Rage 2 you can perform unique Blitz Attacks by double tapping the DPAD before attacking. Each player can perform special attacks and one of the new characters (we won’t spoil it) can even whizz around on roller blade to increase speed!
This was by far one of the best SEGA Game Gear games, and one of the hardest to put down when your mother calls you for dinner when you were a kid.
First up on our list of the best SEGA Game Gear games is Wonder Boy: The Dragons Trap, a strong contender for one of the best Master System games of all time too!
This is a port of Wonder Boy III for the Master System and a game that critics the world over went ape over (or should that be ‘dragon’, I’m unsure…).
Apart from having an engaging storyline and characters that could morph into other animals or beings, this game was known for being bright and colourful.
Like holding a supernova drawn by a small child in your hands.
Think of the feeling of playing this title for the first time as the same feeling you had when you played Wind Waker for the first time.
Sure, the cel-shaded graphics were a little odd, but it provided a refreshing change!
But back to Wonder Boy. This game takes place directly after the last game in the series, ‘Wonder Boy In Monster Land’.
Why can’t a Wonder Boy end up living in ‘chocolate cake village’ or just chill out once in a while. It’s always monsters and ghouls and manual labour!
Our intrepid adventurer has been cursed by a Mecha Dragon, and now he has to find a mysterious Salamander Cross to turn him back to his normal self.
Sound’s like he could do with raiding Professor Snape’s store cupboard if you ask me!
If you’re a fan of games that involve a lot of searching and puzzle solving, then Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap could be the game that traps your Game Gear in your hands for hours on end.
You’d have to be pretty ‘Mizrabel’ not to have enjoyed seeing Mickey Mouse on a handheld device for the first time (if you’ve played the game, then you’ll know that was a perfect joke right there).
He might not be Sonic or Liu Kang, but Mickey used his own skillset in this epic adventure quest and won the hearts and minds of thousands.
Using a jump and squash attack made famous by a certain Italian plumber and armed with an arsenal of marbles and apples, Mickey must battle the Masters Of Illusion and defeat the witch Mizrabel to rescue Minnie from a lifetime of being imprisoned with a hook-nosed old hag.
Critics widely appreciated Disney’s take on the classic Mario style 2D adventure game as a great success, and Castle of Illusion was one of the games that helped to push the SEGA Genesis to great heights.
I know people tend to think that Disney is a little bit childish, but you have to admit that seeing the most famous mouse in the world holding his own in Enchanted Forests and eerie Desert Factories is pretty impressive.
If you haven’t played this game then we strongly recommend you give it a go; it’s a classic and a great title to kick off our best SEGA Game Gear games list!
Before Minecraft and other digger-happy puzzle games arrived on the scene, Lemmings was the ultimate underground brain tickler.
We’ve spent countless hours messing around while trying to get from one end of a level to the other without losing our minds in the process, and occasionally we’ve actually managed it!
These little green-haired explorers knew no limits, though trying to get the optimum recipe for success was often difficult, to say the least.
The GameCube game Pikmin always reminded me of Lemmings; it’s games like these that probably account for why I’m bald at a young age.
Players have to choose from eight different traits in a bid to get their lemmings to work together to find the hidden exit at the end of the course.
Your chosen lemmings can pull different techniques from underneath their blue robes such as climbing, floating, digging etc, but you’ll have to watch out for the rest of your mindless horde as they walk backwards and forwards into pillars.
They’ll also traipse zombie-like up mounds and, (sorry folks) down into fiery pits and off the edge of cliffs.
If you’re a SEGA Game Gear fan, then you’ve probably already experienced the pain/pleasure of nuking all of your lemmings in frustration.
Retro Dodo offers a costly counselling course for anyone who still has flashbacks.
The Tetris of the SEGA Game Gear world is another puzzler that has seen our daytime hours fly by in the blink of an eye.
Instead of matching different shapes in this downward tumbling puzzler, you, the Columns Master, are charged with linking three different coloured gems together in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line.
As long as they are touching, they’ll disappear and give you points.
Now, I know this sounds easy, but with a possible high score of 99’999 points to get up to, there’s always room for improvement.
Sometimes the simplest games are the ones that keep us hooked the longest.
How many hours did you spend playing Angry Birds on your phone instead of listening in class or doing the work that you get paid to do day-in-day-out?
How much time have you put into winning every gold trophy on Mario Kart?
The same addiction drives people back to play Columns again and again, itching to try and beat their high score and explode that all-knowing super jewel to clear their boards ready for the next glittery onslaught.
If the last part of this paragraph seemed a little out there or hard to read, It’s because I’m playing Columns while writing…
GOD DAMMIT; now I have to start all over again. Thanks, guys!
Even though the Zelda games on the NES and SNES were amazing and will always retain incredible play-time value, there comes a time when you don’t want to carry multiple consoles or handhelds around with you.
Especially while you’re heading out to meet friends or pretending to walk the dog for your parents.
Dragon Crystal filled the top/down view adventure title needs of quest fanatics everywhere.
If you’re new to Dragon Crystal, then imagine an amalgamation of Gauntlet, Holy Magic Century, and Links Awakening all in one.
It’s a turn-based game in which you must make your way through mysterious levels, battling monsters and gathering collectables designed to increase your power as you progress.
After finding yourself down a dark alley in a mysterious neighbourhood, you, the player, discover a strange looking crystal in an abandoned antique shop.
Too nosey for your own good, you end up getting dragged into a strange world where a giant egg is continuously following you.
I know it sounds a little like a trippy dream, but it’s the actual premise of the game!
Use potions, unlock items, and equip armour to help you survive in this treacherous new land, all the while trying to work out what the heck the egg is doing!
I can’t imagine turning this next entry in our list of the best SEGA Game Gear games on for the first time and being able to run, jump, fight and climb like the fabled Prince of Persia.
It must have been mind-blowing to have had such amazing features to play around with when most of the characters that came before it could only jump up and down.
You have just 60 minutes to save the Princess from the evil Jaffar (not of Aladdin fame, although they look as though they could be closely related).
The graphics are based around grimy looking dungeon scenes in dark colours.
You won’t see any Halo style explosions or BOTW cutscenes here folks, but the gameplay is exquisite for its time.
Unlike other retro games where you’re constantly failing to jump or run because the controls are so laggy, Prince Of Persia is super smooth and a joy to play.
If you like your ancient Persian adventures filled with spikes, traps, sharp blades, big walls, and magic mirrors, then this is one of the best SEGA Game Gear games that you need to keep in your backpack at all times!
I probably should say now that there are quite a number of Sonic titles in this list.
But then again, it’s a SEGA article; would you expect anything else?
Sonic Chaos is considered by many to be a follow-up sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It follows the same ring collecting action and sees Sonic trying to take down the evil Dr Robotnik.
The moustachioed menace is trying to steal the Chaos Emeralds so that he can use them to make nuclear weapons.
You’d have to run pretty fast to get away from one of those!
Sonic chaos was the first Sonic game to be made for a handheld device, making this a pretty pivotal game in portable gaming history.
Sure, there were other Sonic titles ported to the Game Gear, but Chaos was the first fully portable original adventure that us gamers-on-the-go could get our hands on.
There are eight worlds to complete, and players can either play as Sonic or Tails as they blast their way through each stage,
Chaos brings new moves to the franchise such as the hover shoes and the impressive ‘Super Peel Out’ function first used in Sonic CD (one of the best SEGA CD games).
That last one makes Sonic move even faster; we didn’t even think that was possible!
It’s safe to say that Nintendo have cornered the market when it comes to Vampire games thanks to the Castlevania franchise.
Still, SEGA was keen to create a horror game for their consoles that could match the antics of the Belmont Clan.
Ok, so horror might seem like a strong word to use right about now, but Vampire: Master of Darkness had gamers on the edge of their seats back in the day!
Whether that was because they were engaged in the story or getting up to put their console in the sink due to this game’s difficulty, we’re still unsure.
Difficulty aside, this title is the perfect answer for anyone that wants Castlevania-style thrills on a SEGA console.
Ok SEGA, what name are we going to give the main character, the one that will rival Simon Belmont and bring SEGA glory?
How about ‘Dr. Ferdinand Social’…
… Why do they always chose such terrible names for their characters!
Like Castlevania, you’re aiming to kill Dracula. Where it differs is the number of epic weapons that you can have at your disposal as you traverse the games cleverly designed levels.
You always start off with a dagger, which is about as much use as a cuddly toy when you’re trying to take down a skeleton or a vampire. Weapons that you pick up will always vanish if you die.
So try not to die!
One of the bosses in this game is Jack the Ripper. I don’t know why or what the reason is that he’s hanging out in Dracula’s castle, but at least you can kill two evil-villains from history in one go.
Now that’s what I call value for money!
I still remember trying to convince my friend to let me borrow his SEGA Game Gear for a couple of weeks so that I could carry on playing this after I went round to his house.
It was button mashing heaven and a
Streets Of Rage is one of the best side-scrolling brawlers ever made, and while I like a bit of Street Fighter when it comes to whooping ass and using insane moves, Streets Of Rage has that addictive allure that keeps pulling you back in to try and defeat the absurdly humongous enemies at the end of each round.
Having the ability to take S.O.R out into the open changed gaming for a lot of people and made it easier to carry on playing when you had to go home from your mates or head out to the supermarket.
With the SEGA Game Gear in tow, you didn’t have to admit defeat when your TV time was up; you could carry on playing in secret and keep the fight alive.
I often think about Adam, Axel, and Blaze trying to clean up the streets and rid the world of Mr X’s henchmen, and I wonder how many other ex-police officers have looked to Streets Of Rage as a light at the end of the tunnel after their career.
Probably none; no one in their right mind would try and take down bosses that big!
I love it when the underdog gets a shot on the big stage, which is why Tails Adventure had to have a place on our list of the best SEGA Game Gear games of all time!
No longer skulking in Sonic’s ‘shadow’ (any die-hard fans will get that reference), Tails took the chance to be the main character and proved that he can more than hold his own with the blue peril.
As Tails isn’t as fast as Sonic, the gameplay is undoubtedly a little slower than previous Sonic games.
He can’t run; he just walks at a chilled pace like a fox that has his own island can afford to do.
Still, that’s not a bad thing, as sometimes Sonic is so fast I tend to miss stuff and just plough through levels like there’s no tomorrow!
This game is set in a time before Tails became Sonic’s sidekick. You have to defeat the enemies that have invaded Tails island, and the game has a much heavier emphasis on exploration rather than getting from A to B in the fastest possible time.
Think if it as a Mario-style platformer with Tails as the lead, and you’ll get the idea.
Oh, and you don’t lose one-hundred-million rings every time you get hit by an opponent either. You’ll just lose a couple which isn’t that devastating.
If you’re a fan of the Sonic franchise, then you’ll be all over this game. It’s well thought out and provides a nice back story for SEGA’s second best fox (sorry, Tails, but Psycho Fox wins every time in our book).
It might seem a bit slow to some people, but it’s a classic title and one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing over the years.
Yep folks, it’s another Sonic title!
Triple trouble is the sequel to Sonic Chaos and another game custom made for the Game Gear rather than being yet another port.
This time, Knuckles the Echidna appears alongside our dynamic duo, though he’s not on the same side as Sonic and Tails!
Robotnik has either bribed him or hypnotized him with his curly moustache, and Knuckles is now trying to beat Sonic and Tails to the Chaos Emeralds.
There’s also some dude called Nack the Weasel who’s sniffing about for treasure, though no-one really cares about him.
Triple Trouble is Sonic action at its finest and the graphics are very impressive for an 8-bit console.
Many critics have even said that this game rivals some of the 16-bit Sonic offerings on the SEGA home console range.
That’s high praise!
Tails is back to scooting along fast in this title, and while he can hover for a limited amount of time, Sonic returns with his ‘Super Peel Out’ move from the previous game, Sonic Chaos.
There are 6 different themed areas to work through, all with the usual Sonic-style enemies and obstacles to navigate as you make your way through the game.
Ok, so admittedly it’s not anything new and is very similar to the other games.
Still, every Assassin’s creed game I’ve ever bought has been the same, and I still buy the damn things, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it!
Before we had the luxury of whipping out Cro Mag Rally on our iPhones or kicking back with Mario Kart 8 on the Switch, good handheld racers like the next title on our list of the best SEGA Game Gear Games were few and far between.
Road Rash is a beastly little game based around Motorcycle racing, with many ‘road
With levels based
And if you’re no good at steering, you can always punch, kick, or backhand neighbouring opponents as you speed towards the finish line.
Anything goes in Road Rash!
Instead of contending with bananas and chain chomps, players have to watch out for baseball bats and chains as they swerve in and out of the other racers, all while trying to avoid causing too much damage to their bike and themselves…
… which in a game like this is harder than it sounds!
This is one of the most high-octane racers on the SEGA Game Gear and a title in which anything can happen at any given time.
It’s not just enough to be able to know the course like the back of your hand, in fact, you can’t see the back of your hand because there’s a chain wrapped around it.
Electronic Arts, you are too good to us!
I was considering just writing ‘because who doesn’t love Power Rangers’, and leaving it at that, but I figured you might be hoping for something a little bit more informative.
I lived and breathed Power Rangers growing up; I had the figures, the Zords, the swords, but I never had the game!
I know it’s shocking, but I can only hope that putting it in this list of best SEGA Game Gear Games as an adult will make up for the mistakes that I made as a child.
The Game Gear version was one of only two versions that allowed you to use the Green Ranger and the Dragonzord too, which makes it instantly better than the un-green SNES version.
Take that, Nintendo!
Using a variety of classic and signature moves, you can work your way through a story mode, a link-up battle mode, or a single-player button mash battle mode.
You can play as your favourite character (or colour if you’re not a nerd
Oh, and you can play as the MegaZord; who doesn’t love the MegaZord?
If Streets Of Rage takes the crown for the best scroll-along fighter on the SEGA Game Gear, then Mortal Kombat II takes the prize for the most addictive punch ’em up on the console.
Sub Zero, Kitana, Reptile, Liu Kang, and the rest of the motley crew are all ready to battle their differences out in Mortal Kombat in an attempt to try and determine who is the ultimate warrior.
Hearing the words ‘FINISH HIM’ or ‘FATALITY’ from the sonorous voice in the sky will never get old; it still gives me chills when I think about it!
If you could remember all of the secret moves in Mortal Kombat II, then you were a SEGA Game Gear god.
Pulling out moves that no one else could do made you the king or queen amongst your mates, with an endless stream of ‘tell me how you do it’ following you everywhere you went.
All of the moves for the game were actually recorded by actors in front of a screen using a hi-tech Sony Camera and then morphed into the game that you can still play today.
Pretty neat, huh?
If you’re surprised that SEGA’s hero is topping our ultimate best SEGA Game Gear games list, then I suggest that you go and lie down and rethink things through a little bit.
Sonic is, and will always be up there with the likes of Mario, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Link,
He’s an institution and is just as popular today as he was back in 1990.
If you wanted to play Sonic, then you had to get a SEGA, and many people did just for that reason.
If only we could have run around with our SEGA Game Gear as fast as Sonic could speed through Emerald Hills; now that would have been something.
For anyone who has been living in a cave since 1990, Sonic is a super-fast hedgehog who runs around a 2D world collecting rings and freeing animals, all while trying to stop the evil Dr Robotnik and his arsenal of flying crafts.
It’s a super-speed fast-paced game that never gets old and retains its play value due to the fact that you can pretty much pick it up and put it down without worrying about how far you managed to get during a session.
I never actually obtained all of the Chaos Emeralds. Heck, I don’t think I even got past that futuristic Casino world, but it just didn’t matter.
You could run through the Emerald Zone all day long without getting bored, and that’s the sign of a great game.
Have we missed your favourite title from our list of the best SEGA Game Gear games? What would you list as your top 10 games on this classic handheld console?
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.