I never had a SEGA Genesis growing up or any of the best SEGA Genesis games. I was always on team Nintendo, carrying my trusty grey GameBoy DMG everywhere with me wherever I went.
My friends all had SEGA Genesis Games in their houses (SEGA Mega Drive here in the UK), so I would play as much as I could when I went round to their homes to get my fill of what it was like to play a different console.
The controller was always the best part; it felt so different to the SNES, that magical A button making Sonic jump away from flying bees as we sped towards the goal ring, and blasting foes into space while running around as a certain underground-dwelling character.
I bought my own console as soon as I was old enough to start earning a bit of money and bought all of the SEGA Genesis Games that I knew and loved, and more besides.
I was hungry for some SEGA action, and I made sure that I tested out all of the games available to me (the ones that looked good at any rate).
I’ve made a list of 45 of my favourite titles for you to check out. Hopefully, you’ve played some of them, and if not, then you’ve got one hell of a weekend coming up!
VectorMan has feels of Metroid and Lode Runner in it. It’s a side-scroller where players have to shoot their way from left to right, clearing a screen in a limited amount of time.
Enemies and puzzles designed to make you panic under the time pressure are rife, and sometimes bosses even step out into the fray to test your mettle.
If you find a TV anywhere on route, shoot it and see if there are any exciting weapons inside.
I wonder if that’s an idea taken from the Sonic games, by any chance?
Vectorman can transform into different objects such as a fish or a drill too to get to new areas. He’s like a more robotic version of Samus Aran, just not as infinitely cool!
I guess Kermit was right; it’s not that easy being green.
How many of you have ever heard of a Dolphin Simulator? Ecco The Dolphin is the original, the first, and probably the only one that you ever need to check out.
It’s a little more than just a simulator though. Yes, you can swim and jump and dive like a dolphin, but you also have to travel through time to save your friends.
That took a quick turn!
There are tonnes of things out to thwart Ecco in his mission too. We’re talking lava plumes, spikes, and predators like humongous eels.
Don’t be thinking that you Ecco can swim incessantly forever though; watch your air gauge and remember to jump above the water or find an air pocket to keep Echo alive.
Use your death sonar to defeat evil enemies, speak to friendly animals, and enjoy exploring the depths of the underwater world!
I absolutely loved the film Dune, and after watching the film I went back to the Genesis and played Dune: The Battle For Arrakis.
The three dominant houses of the universe have arrived on Arrakis to mine spice. You must defeat the other house and claim Dune for you and your house.
Cue battles to the death, tactical gameplay, and sneaky attacks a-plenty.
There are a lot of differences in the Genesis version of this game compared to the original. We’re talking better graphics, a much-simplified control system (which was definitely needed), and the way the levels are set.
Gameplay is linear, so there’s no picking maps at random either. To be honest, I think this last point helps to drive the story more, so you won’t hear me complaining!
If, like me, you can’t wait to watch the next film, then get the game on and get your fill of House Atreides!
Samurai Shodown takes the 42nd spot on this list of the best Sega Genesis games of all time. It’s essentially Street Fighter with weapons and blood.
So a Samurai version of Mortal Kombat then?
There’s no Yoga Fire, Hadoukens, or Hundred Hand Slaps, just the clank of steel on steel as swords, spears, and other weapons collide.
Honestly, one wrong move and it can be all over for you in an instant. This game doesn’t reward those who button mash; it’s all about landing the right type of blow at the right time.
And, to spice things up a little bit, you can pick health through the battle in the form of pieces of fried chicken that fall from the heavens.
Now this is my kind of game!
NHL ’94 might have come out when I was 3, but it’s still an absolute classic that’s played be people all over the world today.
This game is also a pretty important milestone for the NHL series as it’s the first one to feature real teams for the first time.
Choose from 26 teams, picking your favourite fighters from the 1994 season.
Real teams come at a price though, and the price is the absence of fighting in game.
I know I know, it’s something that we all love to do, but this is supposed to be about being a good sportsperson and not brawling, so try to look past it.
With new shooting techniques and tougher defence to break through, there’s still plenty of tough action to dive into.
Keep up to date with stats, and play in-game seasons to take your team to the top!
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium is definitely a must have for the JRPG fans amongst our Retro Dodo readers.
Until you’ve wandered around the overworld with two weapons in hand and taken your party on a Genesis-style magic fest, you really haven’t lived.
The battle scenes look incredible to say that this game came out in 1993 too. I mean, look at the definition in the mountains for the time!
Like Pokemon, characters grow in level and learn new moves automatically without any adding points to a skill tree.
Work together with members of your party to pull off slick moves too, and then there’s the chance to actually jump in a vehicle and increase your firepower tenfold.
It makes things a little more difficult, but I like using the Android characters in this game. They have their own thing going on, with moves discovered by breaking open dungeon chests and a whole different range of items to use
Definitely go for a robo-pal if you want more of a challenge!
Super Street Fighter II takes the 39th spot in this list of the best Sega Genesis games!
If you’ve played Street Fighter II Turbo, then this game will feel very similar. The main difference is that the game comes with an extra four characters and an extra four stages.
There are no new game mechanics to wrap your head around either; it’s still best out of 3 rounds with the last person standing or the fighter with the most health at the end winning!
The main reason to buy this game is the inclusion of some new and exciting multiplayer modes for friends to tackle together.
Competing to see who is the greatest Street Fighter champion in the Elimination Group Battle never gets old, and the new Challenge mode where players must defeat opponents in a certain amount of time is definitely one to try out the next time you have mates over!
The Lion King will forever be one of those games that makes me wince.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it, but it caused me so much grief when I was younger. I just couldn’t get past that bit with the giraffes and the monkeys, and it really… really wound me up!
Look at Simba all smug below. If he could have heard me using 7-year-old profanities, he might not have looked so happy!
One thing I will never ever get bored of is the colours in this game. The clashing pinks and yellows used to create the scene above are so iconic, especially when you throw the purple monkeys into the mix. It’s fun jumping action, definitely one for fans of Mario to try out.
Work through the story of the Lion King, playing as young and old Simba alike as you grow into your skills and eventually take on Scar.
You can even take Timon and Pumba out for a spin too. And, if you loved this Title from Virgin Games, then you’ll be all over the next Genesis game coming up!
Let’s keep this list going at full speed with Disney’s Aladdin, one of the best Sega Genesis games I ever played!
It’s crammed full of epic gameplay and follows the main premise of the film. Players take Aladdin through various stages, wielding his sword and receiving a helping hand from the most famous genie in the world along the way.
No, I don’t mean the one from Mario Party 4; I’m talking about the blue wispy dude!
The Sega Genesis version actually had Disney animators join the team. It’s like an extension of the film and the perfect title for Disney fans to recreate the action in their living rooms.
Having Aladdin’s health as the smoke from the genie’s lamp is a real nice touch, and the levels are nicely textured and well thought out. I might break off here and have a play now before carrying on!
Along with The Lion King, this marks one of many Disney games for the Genesis that made the console one of the most sought after bits of gaming kit of the time.
Fans of the early Legend of Zelda games (that should be everyone reading any Retro Dodo article to be honest) will love Beyond Oasis.
Players take Prince Ali (is he the guy from Aladdin?) on a quest after he comes across a mysterious amulet. He must use said amulet to gather the power of four elemental spirits and stop another chap with an evil amulet from causing havoc.
Sounds like Ali’s got his work cut out for him eh!
Work through the different levels and uncover areas on a Zelda-esque map to complete the game. There’s lots of collectibles to pick up and awesome weapons that make mincemeat of nasty bosses,
And of course, the elemental spirits that aid Ali in saving the day.
Wield a knife, bombs, swords and more while knocking back enemies. Be careful though; weapons may break mid fight leaving you running with your tail between your legs!
The first ToeJam & Earl game was iconic, but ToeJam & Earl: Panic on Funkotron was a bit of a sore subject for fans who felt that it was just too different from the original.
It was like the Yooka-Laylee developers suddenly producing a 2D game after the Banjo-Kazooie-esque first game. For many, it just didn’t make sense.
I’ve gotta say that I personally love the artistic direction in this game. It’s a million miles away from the first game in terms of storyline, game mechanics, and design, but i think it’s a pure classic that everyone needs to play
So what’s happening in this game? Well, ToeJam and Earl are back on their home planet, though this time they’re trying to capture pesky humans that have hitched a ride back to their rad, funkadelic homeworld.
Who can blame them; it looks awesome!
Using a radar, our alien heroes must capture every earthling and stop them from scaring away all the funky juju that makes Funkotron so damn funky!
Fans of Columns and Sonic who wish that the two games could somehow combine can finally tick that wish off their bucket lists.
Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is a falling puzzle game akin to Dr Mario, Tetris, and pretty much every block-falling game in existence!
It’s based on Puyo Puyo and features Robotnik capturing more innocent people and turning them into robots. This guy has got a real nerve!
The premise is a tried and tested one. Connect different coloured blobs as they fall down a screen.
Move colours to connect them and clear a screen to win. If you’re playing against another player, then connecting combos together can send grey blocks to hamper your opponents progress, making it harder for them to connect colours.
Work through the 13 levels and stop Robotnik from terrorising Beanville. Job done.
King Of Monsters II is up next, a game that made all of my Power Ranger Zord battles come true.
Ginormous monsters battling against each other in cityscapes, throwing items at each other and battling in 2.5D Street Fighter-style action.
I mean, what’s not to love?
The game is different every time you play too, as you essentially smash up the level as you move around it.
Remember in Killer Instinct how you had to fight everyone including yourself to become the ultimate champion? Well, that’s the general gist of this game, and players also come across smaller enemies that try to chip away at character’s health too.
Crash, smash, and beat your opponent into the dust of the havoc you wreak. Game on!
Shining Force II takes the 32nd spot in this list of the best Genesis games of all time, bringing a turn-based fantasy RPG epic quest to the table.
It’s time to take a trip to the fabled kingdom of Guardiana and meet up with Max, the fearless main character in this epic quest.
Expect beastly dragons, dark magic, ferocious battles, and twin swords of light and darkness.
Levelling up units and earning points by winning battles and saving allied fighters from certain death are all part of being a hero in this game.
In many ways, it’s very much like the turn-based tactics fest that is ‘Fire Emblem’. Each character has a background story a little like a Cluedo character which makes the story more interesting, and the class system for each fighter determines who is best for the games many scenarios.
Listen, it’s D&D-style RPG magic, and it needs to be in your collection. Nuff said!
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle is one of the hardest games i’ve ever played. Seriously, losing health for failing at Rock, Paper, Scissors and continually being killed by a car travelling along the screen is heartbreaking…
… and that’s only on Level 1!
This game follows on from Alex Kidd in Miracle World and was a huge success for the Genesis. Players take Alex through eleven exciting levels, collecting coins and kicking enemies into kingdom come!
I’m still not sure who’s driving those cars through this Ancient-Greek-looking world, but who am I to ask questions…
Gamble for items against Gorillas, control epic vehicles, and use a pogo stick like our old friend Scrooge McDuck.
Oh, and Alex dies whenever he’s hit by an enemy. We’re talking instant death…
Told you it was hard.
Flashback: The Quest For Identity takes the 30th spot on this list of the best Sega Genesis games go all time!
If you’re a sci-fi nerd, then welcome to the motherload. It’s the best selling French video game according to the Guiness Book of Records, and they’re usually pretty trustworthy on these things.
And, it has some slick cinematic elements that make it still epic to play today.
Ok, it’s no PS5 title, but we still love it!
Any game that features hand drawn backgrounds scores highly in my book, and Flashback has some of the best. It just makes for really interesting gameplay and backgrounds with depth, even if the characters look pretty simple.
Your mission is to escape the mutant filled planet that you’ve landed on after crashing your hover bike. To help you along is a message that you recorded yourself from the future…
With only seven levels to play through it won’t last forever, but if my experience is anything to go by, this is a game that you’ll go back and play again and again for many years!
Any Smooth Criminals out there should definitely give Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker a try (see what I did there?)
Did you ever think M.J would star in a video game? Did you ever think he’d appear in one that was a beat-em-up based on Shinobi either?
If that sounds like the coolest thing in the entire universe, then keep reading!
M.J is on a mission to save kids from a drug dealer. It’s one of the oddest games I’ve ever played, with asteroids turning MJ into a robot and battles playing out in space.
Michael can pull of Dance Magic moves which make his enemies bust a move and get down to his popular tracks, leaving him to beat them into submission.
Yep… M.J’s baaaad.
This is a game that we shouldn’t love but can’t get enough of. Working through M’Js music video locations and bopping along to classic tracks is epic, and while it’s an odd concept, it’s one that works!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist takes the 26th spot in this list of the best Sega Genesis games of all time!
We’re in Liberty Island, and everyone’s favourite reporter April O’Neil finds the city around her shrinking in size.
No surprises for guessing that Shredder is behind the attack. He’s wielding the Hyperstone and plans to take over the world with it.
Sounds like a job for heroes in a half-shell, don’t you think?
Play through five stages as Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo, kicking ass Turtle-style.
If you liked Turtles in Time, then this game is going to be right up your street… sewer… you get the idea. It’s basically the same game in terms of gameplay and music, but any Turtles adventure is great in our book.
The Hyperstone Heist will leave you coming back for more time and time again, which is a good job as it’s pretty short. Thank goodness it’s fun to play over and over… and over… and over!
Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament is a bit of a big deal. The Genesis is a two player console, but Micro Machines 2 had two extra ports in the game cartridge to allow 4 players to play.
I know that doesn’t seem too exciting in a world where 24 people can log onto a game and play online, but back in ’94, this was cutting edge stuff!
Micro Machines has such an endless appeal, purely because the premise is so childlike.
Racing tiny little cars around courses in every day settings like tables and treehouses is what pretty much all of us did as kids, and now you can send them speeding around courses at high speeds with the touch of a button.
For such a simple game, it’s definitely a tough cookie to beat and can make tensions rise.
The top-down view means that you’ve got to think pretty quick when driving too. There’s no chance of seeing corners or walls ahead of time, so learn the tracks as you play and try not to get caught out!
Gunstar Heroes is run and gun gaming at its finest. This side-scrolling shoot-a-thon is a perfect game from start to finish, and the Gunstars are relentless when it comes to taking down massive enemies.
How many games feature acrobatic warriors that shoot guns while taking down huge robo enemies? It’s like Cirque Du Soleil with bullets flying left, right, and centre!
This was developer Treasure’s first game. Talk about a roaring success for a debut title!
Critics and fans went mental for this title, with both praising just how bonkers the game is and how it keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very first moment.
Weird humour that oddbods like me love, insanely huge bosses that wouldn’t look out of place in an R-Type level, and richly coloured backgrounds that are a visual feast for the eyes.
What’s not to love?
First up on our list of the best Sega Genesis Games is Golden Axe II, a classic mythical beat-’em-up game with more muscle than Chuck Norris’s eyelids.
If you’re a fan of Gauntlet: Dark Legacy on the GameCube, then you’ll love the Golden Axe series.
Whether you play solo or team up with a friend, this title is ‘hack and slash’ gaming at it’s best, with so many enemies to slay that you’ll soon believe you’re a warrior in real life.
They did base that dude on the front cover on my physique, after all…
The three characters from the first Golden Axe title return for players to choose from. You can play as a battle-axe wielding Dwarf, a ferocious Amazonian warrior, or a brutal Barbarian,
Each player has a series of devastating moves that they can use to clear the field of opponents, and they also have magical abilities that they can call upon at any time.
I love games like Golden Axe II as they don’t require a massive amount of brain power.
Ok, so you’ve got to be on the ball if you don’t want to die, but there’s no intense puzzles to solve or sub-plots to navigate through.
Get from A to B without dying; now that’s a game mechanic I can work with!
Sword of Vermillion is up next in our ultimate best Sega Genesis games article, and it’s another must-have title for the RPG lovers out there.
Fans of Fire Emblem and the early Legend of Zelda games will be all over Sword of Vermillion. It feels very medieval and uses isometric views when wandering around towns.
All exploration outside of towns, i.e. on the overworld map, is done via a first person perspective, which after a while of getting used to starts to feel pretty cool!
This game came with a 106 page hint book in the game case; if that doesn’t give you an idea of how tricksy it is, then I don’t know what will!
The bosses are really well designed too, and I like the fact that it goes to a side on view for the fighting scenes, sticking to the Final Fantasy-style enemy fighting system that we all know and love.
Overall, Sword of Vermillion feels like a bit of an amalgamation of all of my favourite RPGs, which can only ever be a good thing, right?
I know some of you are probably thinking of that amazing creature from the Dark Crystal series, but that’s a Landstrider, not a Landstalker.
Landstalker is the next title in our list of the Best Sega Genesis Games, and in true Sega fashion, they have given their lead character a fearsome name that other characters would cower before…
Yep; you play as Nigel the Treasure Hunter as he travels through underground dungeons and open outdoor areas in search of clues that will lead him straight to the treasure of King Nole.
He’s probably called Nigel too… Nigel Nole.
The game is set in an isometric view, what I’d call 2.5D. It has an early Legend Of Zelda feel about it and has lots of mazes and fantasy elements that help to create a mysterious and engaging plotline.
I was just doing a bit of research for this article, and I found out that Nigel is 88-years-old!
Dude looks around 13 in the picture above, but I guess treasure hunting is one of those professions that keep you looking young!
The Japanese version was a lot more sultry than the European cart too, with references to brothels and a scene where you can share a bath with an attractive-pixelated lady being removed.
Turn’s out Nigel is a bit of a seedy-old devil!
I’ve always been a fan of basketball games, and NBA Jam T.E was one of the games that kickstarted this obsession back in the day!
The Tournament Edition of the game (that’s the T.E on the front) brings some slick new additions to the series, including the use of licensed players for the first time.
That’s right; all your favourite characters actually have their own names now and not some ridiculous imitation name that barely sounds like the real thing.
It’s important to get pumped up while playing sports games, and the music in the T.E version of NBA Jam definitely gets your blood moving and your brain in the competitive spirit.
It’s pretty advanced too for the time as well; players can get injured, then their stats lower for a limited amount of time.
There’s even power ups that players can use too. It’s essentially a version of NBA Jam that adds in extra elements that make Basketball even more exciting. It’s a great game without all the bells and whistles, but they certainly do make for fun gameplay!
Monster World IV is the last game in the Monster World/Wonder Boy series, but what a way to end an epic franchise!
Looking a little bit like Shantae, one of the best Gameboy Color games ever made, the game’s protagonist, Asha, has to navigate her way through a monster-strewn world in a bid to aid a group of spirits in need.
On her journey, she becomes the maser of a genie in a lamp and adopts a pet Pepelogoo, a creature that looks a little like the Pokemon ‘Marill’.
While Asha has the ability to sense spirits, it’s Pepelogoo that is the real star of the show. He can reach areas that Asha cannot and can also protect her and allow her to glide to safety.
What a guy!
Still, Asha is a mean machine with her sword, and the monsters that she comes up against would make many characters run for the hills!
Armour and upgrades can be bought as you progress through the game, and you’ll have to make sure that you get every item in each stage before you leave it, otherwise, they will be lost forever!
This is a great game that players can sink their teeth into and play time and time again to improve on their previous performance.
Watch out for that centipede priestess woman; she’s brutal!
Castlevania: Bloodlines is a great game no matter what console it’s on. Hunting vampires, wielding whips; it’s a goth’s dream come true!
It’s the 20th Century. Dracula is dead, but his legendary niece is the main antagonist in this game. She’s brought about World War 1 in another attempt to wipe out mankind once and for all.
What is it with these Vampires! Why don’t they want to just get along?
As in all of the previous classic Castlevania titles. players move through a series of 2D dungeons slaying monsters and beating bosses in a bid to rid the world of evil.
You start off with a trusty whip, the favoured weapon of the Belmont clan, but can upgrade to better weapons by collecting gems as you progress through the game.
It’s packed full of the action/RPG elements that make the rest of the Castlevania franchise so unique and loved by both gamers and critics the world over.
Some of you might even have played this title on the Sega Mega Drive Mini/Sega Genesis Mini in recent months!
There was a time when a new Sonic game dropped every year; the 90’s really was a glorious decade, and Sonic & Knuckles sums it up perfectly.
As the sequel to the brilliant Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Knuckles returns and joins forces with Sonic and Tails on an adventure set on Angel Island.
It’s good to see them on the same side… all that conflict was too much to handle!
As always, Robotnik is sticking his bulbous nose where it doesn’t belong. He’s trying to get his fallen Death Egg back into orbit which is keeping Sonic pretty busy. Meanwhile, Knuckles has a number of run ins with EggRobo…
… Robotnik really needs someone to name his inventions for him.
The best bit about this game is that it can be docked with Sonic 2 or 3, bringing all the characters into each game!
Honestly, if Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie worked that well, then I wouldn’t have spent so much money ringing up the Nintendo hotline to ask what the ice key was all about!!
Collect rings, defeat minions, run fast. That’s the general idea once again, and although the formula isn’t new, it’s still a cracking game!
If beat-’em-up titles set in ancient Greece are your bag, then the next title in our list of the best Sega Genesis games should be on your wish list.
Altered Beast is one crazy game. You play as a fighter that has been resurrected by the God of Thunder himself. You have to rescue Athena from the underworld, battling weird creatures and demons as you progress.
It’s not often that you see games where you can change into more than one animal-fighter on consoles. I remember playing ‘Bloody Roar: Primal Fury for the GameCube, and this has a similar feel to it.
This arcade game title received high praise when it was ported to home consoles and quickly garnered a loyal following.
You have five levels to play through as you seek to destroy the minions of the underworld. You can change your form into different animals by obtaining power ups, and special items can temporarily increase your power and size.
It’s all easy when you have the Gods on your side!
Tetris might be the best known puzzle block game in the world, but Columns is the king of ‘match three’ games the world over.
If you spend hours playing Candy Crush or some other offshoot on your mobile, then you have Columns to thank for being the original colourful puzzler.
Columns differs to Tetris in that instead of slotting together coloured blocks, you have to match three or more gems of the same colour.
The gems drop down in columns of three (hence the name) and you can match up gems in any direction, including diagonally (not to be confused with the Harry Potter street).
If you like games that require a little bit of thought but minimal button mashing, then this is the perfect title. It’s the kind of thing you might stick on with a cup of coffee beside you in a morning, playing a few rounds to clear your head before the day.
Columns has been ported to more consoles than I can count, and thanks to addictive smartphone apps, you’ll have no problem picking up the concept.
The multiplayer is fun too, with players battling against each other to clear their screens first!
If a title based on alien rappers that crash land on earth sounds interesting to you, then ToeJam and Earl could well be one of the Best Sega Genesis Games to add to your collection.
This game is funkalicious, with a cool soundtrack and regular boombox action to accompany our two unlikely heroes.
Playing as either ToeJam or Earl, you must move through the various stages collecting pieces of your crashed ship (think Silicon Valley but with funkier characters).
The game itself has lots of ‘Gex: Enter The Gecko’ style references to urban culture in the ’80s and ’90s too.
It’s a super fun (and bizarre) game from start to finish. Sure, it looked a bit simple, but this was the ’90s, don’t forget.
Critics loved everything about this weird and wonderful duo, including the fact that you could play as both characters in a co-op mode.
The music, the comedy, the storyline, and the characters themselves cemented ToeJam and Earl as one of the Best Sega Genesis Games of the ’90s.
They’ve been in two sequels since and were revived in 2019 thanks to a Kickstarter campaign!
I still remember the first time I put Earthworm Jim 2 into my Genesis and turned on the TV. I still don’t think I’ve played a game quite like it; it was weird, it was mad, but it was brilliant.
An earthworm in a robotic suit with a friend named ‘snot’ that helps him glide around and swing across caverns – it’s the stuff of legend.
I still remember cranking out the barn blaster for the first time and killing every enemy on the screen. I felt like a gaming god, though I suppose so did everyone else in the world.
To be honest, I prefer Earthworm Jim 2 to the original Earthworm Jim (both two of the Best SEGA Genesis Games), as the gameplay feels more fluid, and there’s a much better array of guns on hand too.
Breaking rocks with that machine gun is still great twenty-four years after it was released.
Can you and Jim save Princess Whats-Her-Name from the evil Psy-Crow, or will you and Snot just have a nap instead?
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was always going to have big shoes to fill (or pointy shoes in Sonic’s case), but it totally nailed it and became one of the best Sonic games of all time as well as one of the best Genesis games.
Bringing Knuckles the Echidna into the mix was a great move too. He’s one of my favourite characters in the entire series and really adds a new dynamic to the usual Sonic format.
Taking place on a cool floating island, Sonic and his faithful pal Miles ‘Tails’ Prower have to gather Chaos Emeralds from Robotnik’s fallen space station, the Death Egg.
And as the protector of said floating island, Knuckles doesn’t want Sonic and Tails snooping around and causing trouble.
In addition to a new character joining the fray, Tails can now fly and swim underwater, giving him much more of a pivotal role in the game.
AND, there are some rumours that the music for this game was written by none other than M.J himself. That’s the second time he’s featured in this list; he’s a Sega legend!
Play through special stages with pinball machines and 3D levels for the first time, and funk along to the questionably M.J-esque music. It’s a Sonic title; what’s not to love!
Riding around on Kangaroos that can drop bombs, destroying creatures through Jammin’ Jungle, THE MULTIPLAYER MODE! Sorry, I just had a hard case of nostalgia there.
I spent hours on Mega Bomberman with my friends; it was the most addictive multiplayer mode on all of my Best SEGA Genesis games and still is today, with a whole host of playable characters from Planet Bomber that went on to star in another one of my favourite titles, Bomberman 64.
Up to 4 players can get involved in the explosive action (see what I did there), and it’s a classic that everyone should try and play once.
This was the first time we saw the white-headed Bomberman as the main star of the show, the character that would go on to be known as ‘Bomberman’ in future titles.
Apart from sounding like cool London nightclubs, Vexin’ Volcano and Crankin’ Castle are two of the best names for worlds on computer games, hands down.
Mega Bomberman is worth it just for the multiplayer action, but if you want to stick around and restore Planet Bomber I’m sure the residents would appreciate it.
I like games where the unlikeliest of heroes end up becoming the star of the show. Long before Crash Bandicoot was spinning around to defeat enemies, Taz the Tasmanian Devil was kicking ass and taking names with his own brand of crime fighting in Taz in Escape from Mars
Taz was a bit of a dimwit, but he took revenge pretty seriously. After a trip to Earth, Marvin the Martian decides he wants our friend the Tasmanian Devil for his Martian Zoo.
After first escaping and then, for some reason, returning, Taz seeks out Marvin to exact his revenge.
It would have made sense just to have hidden out on Earth in my opinion, but I have a few more brain cells than ol’ Taz here (just a couple).
Spin, jump, dig, breathe fire, and spit rocks at enemies as you make your way through the different levels in search of the final boss or the much-loved exit sign, where you can breath a sigh of relief and pat yourself on the back for surviving.
Just like Crash Bandicoot, if you spin into food you’ll destroy it, so you want to watch out for that when you’re running low on energy!
Taz can’t fly or use laser beams to destroy stuff, but he’s still a kick ass hero, and his second SEGA title wholly deserves a place in our Best SEGA Genesis Games list.
Every console needs an iconic ‘Run n Gun’ title, and Contra: Hard Corps certainly filled that slot for the Sega Genesis.
You might know it as Probotector here in Europe, and this spin-off of the Contra series went on to become a classic title that is still played by gamers today.
You play as a task force called the Hard Corps, four badass soldiers who have replaced the original Contra heroes from previous titles.
Your task is to stop Colonel Bahamut and the terrorists he leads, recovering the alien cell he plans to use to improve his weapon arsenal in the process.
The concept is simple; shoot everything in sight until it disappears as you move through each level. Then, do the same thing to the massive boss at the very end. This can be anything from a giant robot to the weird snake thing above (I still don’t really get what it is!).
From invulnerable sliding moves to free shooting styles with gnarly weapons, this game is fast paced and oozing with firepower. It’s a perfect side-scrolling title with cool features that allow you to walk on certain walls and take different paths depending on in-game choices.
I used to run back home to watch WWF Raw on tape every weekday morning after taking the dog for a walk, so I took wrestling pretty seriously. Seeing the undertaker riding in on a bike or Stone Cold running into the ring and smashing beer cans on his head; now that was something special.
WWF Raw was one of the Best SEGA Genesis Games for button mashing multiplayer action, and getting to play as some of my favourite characters was the icing on the barbed-wire cake.
In a similar way to playing Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, I had to try and remember the special moves, signature moves, and move sets for my favourite player.
Seeing a 16-bit character tombstone an opponent into the ring still makes me feel like the king of the nerds, and being able to use new moves like DDT’s for the first time was pretty damn exciting.
Games like this never grow old and they’re still fun to play with your mates. Sure, the PlayStation 4 WWE games have much better graphics, but the SEGA Genesis version is back from a time where endangered pandas and Bret Hart both came under the title of WWF, and that’s weird, funny, and wrong on so many levels!
I don’t know about you guys, but I found the first two Shinobi Games pretty damn difficult when they first came out.
I’ve chosen Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master to feature in this Best SEGA Genesis Games list because it was more about speed and agility than skill, which is how I tackle most objects in life today come to think of it!
The moves were cooler too, and the overall gameplay was smoother and flowed better. Oh, and the weapons were more badass too.
Sometimes sequels end up being better because the developers have learnt from their mistakes, and sometimes they create a classic that takes years to match; just look at Ocarina of Time!
Anyway, back to Shinobi. Joe Musashi must once again face the evil Neo Zeed in this
It’s an absolute classic (I’ve said that multiple times now, but that’s why these games are in this list!) and a game that is notoriously hard to put down.
Take a week off work for this one, you’re going to need it!
Sega certainly knew how to do a good ‘beat ’em up’ game, and while many might consider Number 7 in this list to be the best on the console, Comix Zone certainly caught my attention back in the day.
Unlike other side-scrollers, this game is set out exactly like a comic book. It has everything from the small labels telling you specific city names through to speech bubbles for the various characters. Sega actually patented a ‘Videogame system for creating a simulated comic book game’ for Comix Zone.
They took this gimmick seriously!
The game itself is based on an old C-64 demo. An artist, Sketch, gets trapped in his comic by an evil villain that he has drawn after a lightening bolt hits one of his pages. The villain, desiring to become flesh and blood, tries to kill the artist by drawing in enemies as you move through the levels.
I love the idea of the maker being trapped in his creation in this game. The characters Sketch created now think that he’s part of the storyline, when all he wants to do is escape and get back to his crummy New York flat.
There are two possible endings to the game, and health comes in the form of iced tea which makes a change from mushrooms or rings. If you’re a comic book nerd, then this should definitely be in your collection.
Bigger, badder, more rage.
If you like Streets of Rage, then Streets of Rage 2 will be right up your alley. The camera is closer to the action, the players all have better moves, and the game itself just feels a lot more polished.
I know we all liked calling the police car in to defeat all of the enemies on the original version, but working together to pull off special moves to defeat bad guys is far more exciting than just calling in the boys in blue!
As punch em’ ups go, this was one of the Best SEGA Genesis Games for blowing off some steam.
It also made you feel like you were doing a bit of good in the community too; just look at those denim wearing thugs getting up to no good in your neighbourhood!
Blaze and Axel are back again, though this time they have to defeat MR X and save their friend and original fighter Adam from his clutches.
Joined by Blaze’s brother Skate and a wrestler named Max Thunder, they take to the streets once more to send the bad guys packing.
Heading back to the topic of ‘unlikely heroes’, Donald Duck is much more suited to getting angry at everything in sight rather than trying to save the day, but he gives it a good go in his debut title ‘Quackshot starring Donald Duck‘, and one of the Best SEGA Genesis Games out there to boot.
Walking in Scrooge McDuck’s footsteps, Donald goes in search of hidden treasure with his nephews Huey, Luey, and Duey heading along for support.
Big Bad Pete is the antagonist in the game and tries to stop Donald at every turn.
But, armed with a gun that can shoot plungers, bubble gum, and popcorn, Donald attempts to reach the Maharajah’s treasure first and claim the prize for himself.
It might not seem like it, but these graphics were incredible for when they were first released.
The clouds, the mountains, the bricks on which Donald and Pete are standing in the picture above; they were all heralded by gamers and critics far and wide.
Sure, the controls are a little bit fiddly, but the storyline itself is amazing and our favourite duck has some ace tricks up his sleeve.
Use your plunger to attach onto birds to fly around, or eat chilli peppers to get enraged and become invincible.
Play your way, just remember to give you Daisy a call once in a while.
Hailed as one of the Best SEGA Genesis Games on the platform, James Pond II: Codename: Robocod was as brilliant as it was humerous, and featured some amazing gameplay that I can still remember to this day.
I couldn’t sleep once and stayed up all night playing this game, so believe me when I say that I’m talking from experience here.
How many games can you play as a special agent fish that’s been given a RoboCop style suit?
Add to the fact that you have to infiltrate Santa’s grotto to free penguin elves and defeat the infamous Dr Maybe, and you’ve got an instant hit on your hands.
Jame Pond is one
James can jump on enemies and use his super suit to extend vertically to grab onto things way up above. There’s no guns, so it’s family friendly for any small Retro Dodo fans out there too.
FUN FACT (depending on your definition of fun) – the penguins in the UK version of the game were one of the very first examples of product placement in a computer game. There were designed to advertise the popular biscuit ‘Penguin Biscuits’ from McVitie’s.
There you go; tell that to your friends or partner and thank us later.
Finally; a chance to destroy Sunday Drivers once and for all!
Combat Cars was everything that players who were sick of only using shells and bananas needed in their lives.
Chain chomps are one thing, but being able to wield landmines, shotguns, glue spots, and more really takes driving to a whole new level!
This is another one of the Best SEGA Genesis Games for fast-paced multiplayer action, and one that you need in your collection.
Win money in races, get a high score, and then use that money to upgrade your vehicle for the next race.
Combat Cars has a heavy arcade theme about it in the sense that when your time is up, you have to input your name on a scoreboard and start all over again.
Games don’t have the same thrill factor now that you can save and turn off whenever you want.
You don’t get that sense of achievement of getting to level 20 after blowing your last opponent to smithereens, or the tension when you’re almost out of time but manage to scrape into level 21 by the skin of your teeth.
Those were the days!
Ristar was actually pinned to be Sega’s mascot. A star with arms and legs taking on Nintendo’s moustachioed mascot, surely that wasn’t going to work?
Well, it didn’t, and Sonic has been the poster boy ever since.
Still, don’t discount Ristar just because of a failed marketing campaign. This game is incredible from start to finish and feels a little like Sonic meets James Pond, which I think we can all agree is a great cocktail.
You can tell that this game is designed to take on Nintendo’s cutesy catalogue because the main tyrant is called Greedy.
Doesn’t exactly strike fear into your heart, does it?
Ristar must stop the evil Greedy and free imprisoned residents throughout the solar system. Stretch out like Stretch Armstrong, grab enemies, butt them with your shiny head, and generally be the star of the show.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Next up on our list of the Best Sega Genesis Games is one that I came across by chance when I was a teenager and have been going back to ever since.
Sonic might be the lord of Sega side-scrollers, but Rocket Knight Adventures more than held its own in the vast catalogue of games for the console.
Konami just seem to have a knack of creating incredible games; maybe they have a secret formula that has yet to be discovered?
The main protagonist, Sparkster, is an opossum in armour who wields a sword and can fly using a jet pack.
If that doesn’t ‘spark’ any interest, then maybe you should give up gaming all-together!
Sparkster gets into sticky combat situations with pig and robot enemies. While the game is made by the same people behind Hard Corps, the gameplay is much more cartoony and easier on the eyes.
The graphics are pretty swish too, with Sparkster making his way through lots of scenic areas akin to the Mushroom Kingdom and the Emerald Zone.
If Sonic is Sega’s main animal mascot, then Sparkster could well be their second most popular furry main character. I realise that is quite a specific title to acquire, but I still stand by it.
Our furry Rocket Knight has appeared in lots of different games and platforms over the years, including a couple of comics.
He even appeared on the DS and on a couple of mobile games!
Everyone’s favourite hedgehog is a gaming legend; there’s no denying it, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is one of the finest games ever made.
Link, Sonic, Spyro, Mario, Solid Snake; they represent more to gaming than any of the other characters put together, and I think it’s fair to say that SEGA made the right choice when creating their console mascot.
Sonic 2 could be one of the Best SEGA Genesis Games on the planet; I’m surprised my cartridge still works after all of the times I slammed it into the console, blowing the dust out when I’d not played for a couple of days after being defeated by Robotnik yet again.
From Westside Island to the all-mighty Death Egg, Sonic must once again travel through his side-scrolling world to defeat Doctor Robotnik and retrieve the Chaos Emeralds.
I never got to see Sonic flying alongside Tails as Super Sonic at the very end as I was never a thorough gamer as a kid.
Who else remembers the special zone where you run through that 3d halfpipe too? That just blew my mind.
Getting to play as Tails for the first time was great too, and the ability to play as Knuckles with the slot-in cartridge set-up was the cherry on top of the golden ring.
This was a perfect game and a great one to end our Best SEGA Genesis Games list. Can you believe that the Genesis/Megadrive is 30 years old!
I guess time flies when you’re having fun (or you’re a super-fast hedgehog!).
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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.