16. Watch out, there are still games coming out for Mega Drive!
Brazil shouldn’t come as a surprise either, knowing the pull Mega Drive still has on certain developers, especially since the proliferation of portals such as KickStarter. If in 2010, for example, Pier Solar and the Great Architects came out, nowadays more and more new games are landing on SEGA’s 16-bit console. Not long ago we looked at Coffee Crisis, in fact, being better considered the Tanglewood platform. And if we look to the future, that Paprium in an 80-megabyte cartridge takes the cake, leaving the performance in Xeno Crisis in its infancy.
With the cartridge fully extended, the CD-ROM began to knock on the industry’s door and SEGA wanted to get on the cart with that special device called the Mega-CD that was attached to the Mega Drive, either at the base or on the side, depending on version and territory. The problem is that never came to take full advantage of this technology (worse was the fiasco of the Philips CD-i, in that sense) despite certain games like Sonic CD, Lunar: The Silver Star and its sequel, or the whole string of titles in FMV, as Night Trap, Lethal Enforcers and others.
Worse was, in any case, the experience with 32X, where SEGA wanted to dirty up its extra-powered Mega Drive and make people endure a little more before making the leap to the 32-bit standard of its successor (Saturn). The interesting thing is that the Mega Drive could be turned into a real transformer by coupling the Mega-CD and the 32X, seeing how some games required both accessories. The result? Two years of life, being a complete failure that gave us a few exclusive of interest, as Knuckles’ Chaotix.
19. Masato Nakamura
Masato Nakamura’s career has not been very much linked to the world of videogames (he was already very successful with his group Dreams Come True), but without his fantastic contribution we would miss the evocative melodies of the first Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s impossible to listen to Green Hill Zone without humming it.
20. Wonder Boy
The Wonder Boy saga of Japanese studio Westone Bit Entertainment has always been linked to SEGA machines. In 2017, the remake of Master System’s classic Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap was released. What happened to Mega Drive? It enjoyed three releases, with Wonder Boy in Monster World (1991) being the most widespread; and Monster World IV (1994) the most eagerly awaited, never to leave Japan until that blessing came in the form of SEGA Vintage Collection: Monster World for Xbox Live Arcade, where it was rescued for the occasion. In addition, his legacy is still very much present as he is about to release Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, inspired by The Dragon’s Trap.
21. Shining Force
We had already made it clear that Mega Drive had great exponents within the role, but the SRPG Shining Force deserves its own separate mention as it is an absolute reference of the genre. Even their jump to 32-bit with Saturn’s Shining Force III respected the essence of the classics of its precursor. A curious fact: after several name changes by their creators (the team was even called “Sonic! Software Planning”), they are currently known as Camelot Software Planning and have been completely linked to Nintendo since 1999. They own the Golden Sun and the multiple sporting facets of Mario and his troop.
22. Out Run, After Burner and other arcades
Mega Drive couldn’t potentially compete with Neo Geo, obviously, but it also had its own recreational home. And at SEGA he had quite a few classics, especially those of the master Yu Suzuki, such as After Burner and Out Run, two legends of arcade simulation and driving on different routes in Ferrari.
Another SEGA saga that has emerged in the arcades and is closely linked to Mega Drive is Shinobi, even though his first work for the 16-bit console (The Revenge of Shinobi) was very “peculiar” because of those cameos by Spidey, Batman, Hulk or Godzilla. He had two more exclusives: Shadow Dancer and Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master.
24. “All Your Base Are Belong To Us
“All Your Base Are Belong To Us” is a meme par excellence of video game culture, but it would be unfair to keep that histrionic part of Zero Wing’s translation and ignore the exquisite quality of Toaplan’s classic shoot’em up.
25. Thunder Force IV
From an outstanding matamarcianos to another of as much or greater value for a certain sector. Thunder Force IV was the powerful exclusive that Mega Drive received in 1992, with which the relationship between Technosoft and SEGA was consolidated again, and that was a saga that also came out in more systems until its ironic end in PS2.
26. Comix Zone
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Mega Drive gave rise to many new IPs, being Comix Zone one of the most striking, both for coming out in its last cycle of life (1995; with PlayStation and Saturn fully established in the market), and for its graphic style of comic book vignette. And it had quality to spare as beat’em up, too.
27. SEGA Activator
Mega-CD and 32X were a complete success compared to the SEGA Activator, a device ahead of its time. Because we controlled the game with our body, yes. Inside a combat ring. Insane. Expensive. Disastrous. And totally expendable. R.O.B. the Robot was child’s play by his side.
28. Yu Suzuki and the Virtua series
We mentioned the master Yu Suzuki before, but it’s time to do it again thanks to the Virtua saga, where Virtua Racing and Virtua Fighter 2 were adapted to Mega Drive in 1994 and 1996, respectively. Technically more limited (the fighter was not in 3D, of course), but very grateful to know that Saturn was already on the market. It didn’t matter that in Mega Drive they didn’t look so much.
29. “Genesis does what Nintendon’t
The sauce of the time, compared to the toxicity that reigns today, was one of the most interesting piques among colleagues. Because you were either SEGA or Nintendo. In my case I loved both, although I was a bit more thrown by the Super Nintendo, but I will always be happy for that gift that my parents gave me on a trip to Vigo. They bought me the Mega Drive with Sonic the Hedgehog and the Space Harrier II. Because, as you can see, the SEGA console had nothing to envy to the SNES. Two essential machines.
We close the review for the 30th anniversary of SEGA’s Mega Drive with a golden brooch, that of the studio Treasure, creator of several of the best jewels of that console and subsequent machines, such as Saturn, Nintendo 64, PS2 or GameCube. A team that was created on behalf of several ex-components of Konami and could not have a better debut when forming Treasure: Gunstar Heroes. But then came Alien Soldier, Light Crusader… This studio was a treasure, literally.
Just like SEGA’s Mega Drive, with those 30 years so well spent. Congratulations!