Friday, February 27, 2015

Press Start: Genesis Game-a-Palooza

Time to get your retro on, y'all!
Recently, I got my hands on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, a disk with 40 Genesis classics and 9 unlockable games. It was a great way to experience the glory days of Sega without spending too much on an actual Genesis. With nearly 50 games, there’s bound to a game you're bound to like. This post features 5 games that I felt are totally worth playing, even to this day.

Keep in mind I haven’t played all 49 games, so these aren’t my five favorite, just five that stood out of the dozen I’ve played thus far. That said, let’s start out with…

Shining Force
An RPG that requires you to use your brain? Madness!
Shining Force is a turn-based tactical RPG in an era where 2D action games dominated every storefront. While the game itself is pretty generic in terms of story and mechanics, its very solid in terms of gameplay. Much like Fire Emblem, you control an army of characters with specialized classes and stat growths on a square grid. Despite its simple mechanics, its can get very hard, as giving your enemy an inch or failing to think ahead results in the enemy obliterating your forces. The game also incorporates towns and world maps into the equation, making it feel more like a traditional RPG with a SRPG combat system. This is a solid game, despite how much its aged.

But perhaps you prefer something with a little more kick. Something like...

Streets of Rage 2
Flaming uppercuts: cleaning up streets since 1992.

Who doesn’t love mindless button mashing beat-em-ups? Streets of Rage 2 is one of the best experiences in that category. You can play as one of four characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, as you beat the crap out of a massive criminal syndicate. Each character has a small yet highly effective moveset that’s easy to execute, and they can pick up weapons such as knives or pipes. All of this adds up to a highly satisfying experience that’s easy to pick up. This is best played with a friend, as are most co-op beat-em-ups of this era.

But maybe you’re more of a platforming guy. Then you might enjoy…

Dynamite Headdy
This is a boss fight. It only gets weirder more creative from here.

Since platformers were a dime a dozen in the 16 bit era, developers needed a unique edge to get the attention of gamers. In Dynamite Headdy, the titular character can detach and replace his head to aid in his platforming adventure. Not only is the setting and stages very creative (its a puppet show of all things), but the main gimmick works very well. Headdy can use his head to bowl over enemies, grab onto floating platforms, and even swap out heads with things like blasters and missile launchers. There are also a bunch of nice little touches, like your health meter being a spotlight and the worlds being called “scenes”. Dynamite Headdy is a fine platformer with a great flair.

Like this game? Then you’ll definitely love…

Those sure are some conveniently shaped vines...
Ristar is a game about a sentient star out to save the galaxy. While the titular hero can’t jump very high or run very fast, he has one weird trump card- his arms can stretch to ludicrous lengths. With this power, he can ran into enemies, swing off of obstacles, and swim with the greatest of ease. That’s right: there’s actually a platformer with good swimming controls. The level design is top notch, and takes advantage of every move in Ristar’s arsenal. The music in this game is absolutely fantastic, being both upbeat and atmospheric. Other than the lackluster boss fights, there’s not much I can say against Ristar.

Craving something both creative and mindless? How about…

Comix Zone
The manliest comic book never drawn.

You know you’re having a bad day when you’re sucked into your own comic book with the main villain drawing in monsters to kill you. Poor Sketch is having one such day. Luckily for him, the comic he’s trapped makes for an awesome game. Comix Zone has a great concept, and it completely runs with it. Rather than having a scrolling screen, Comix Zone has Sketch hop from panel to panel, with the player choosing his path. The visuals look like they’ve been lifted straight from an 90s comic book. Combine both of these with solid and challenging fights and a simple yet effective inventory system, and you get one of the greatest single player beat-em-ups ever.

And there you have it! If you liked or disliked this, feel free to leave a comment.

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