Top 10 favorite Sega Genesis games of all time

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Remembering the Sega Genesis-

"Genesis does what Nintendon't !" The Sega Genesis- proprietor of unabashed console coolness and hard-charging advertisement bravado, blazed into the atmosphere of my understanding like a meteor and slammed into my soul with a 'tude-filled THUD, leaving behind a crater of influence that's as responsible for my inception as a lover of attitude in gaming as anything else! No doubt, my prepubescent eyes were not prepared for the awesomeness when my neighbor "snuck" open his Christmas present a week early to reveal a brand new Genesis. YOWZAA!!! Right away, games like Sonic the Hedgehog , Streets of Rage and Road Rash had our little 90's ducktail heads spinning with delight! Even though he (of course) got in trouble for it, he said "it was totally worth it cause I got to play Sonic early." ...Fair enough. That sort of rebelliousness seemed to pair with the system in the same way that a spiked leather jacket and sunglasses does on a biker as the Genesis strove to the top of the video game mountain with an edgier approach to both hardware and software design as well as aggressive ads unlike anything ever seen before. You can keep your puny "power" Nintendo, ours is MEGA-POWERED !!!

Even though I was extremely fond of my Nintendo and the vastness of its game library, the Sega Genesis was instantly impressive with titles that blew me away both aesthetically and structurally such as Golden Axe and Strider . Not only did these look and sound more like real arcade games but they played smoothly and displayed graphics far beyond the power of the NES. It was around this time that "bits" entered my lexicon as a tool for measuring a game console's capabilities as my next door neighbor (or Genesis Boy as I started calling him) was more than proud to point out that the reason his system looked and sounded better than mine was due to the fact that it was made with 16 of these mysteriously magical "bits" while the Nintendo was only using 8. Holy crap... that's like double the bits!!! Makes sense then why these games looked so much more amazing. With that, the first shots were fired for me in what would become the largest ever debate in video game history... Nintendo vs. Sega.

Sega didn't hold back as they relentlessly attacked Nintendo through advertising propaganda during this era which fit right in with the new 'tude-filled angst that permeated through our culture during the punk rock 80's leading into the hip hop 90's. Even Genesis owners like my neighbor fell into this cyclone of game bullying as he reveled in the magnificence of his new system while constantly putting down the NES (which was kind of funny to me since he owned one of them as well). "The Genesis is WAY better than the Nintendo" he would exclaim which always struck me as an unnecessary declaration. Do we really need to pick? I mean, I want to live in a world where I can enjoy all the fruits that fall from the gaming tree. NOPE... you've got to choose! *Sigh* At least, that's the way it seemed.

I had to side with the NES (and later the SNES) at the time since it was the console that I had but I was always fond of the bad boy Genesis and would read as many articles as possible to keep up with new information and play it at friends houses as often as I could. Meanwhile, games such as Toejam & Earl and Mutant League Football continued to tantalize, bursting out the seams with 'tude (at least through my eyes) while at the same time providing a perfect contrast to the more family oriented titles found in Nintendo's library. Sports games (one of my personal favorite genres) also looked and played amazing on Sega's 16-bit ruffian. Gotta say, I'm really diggin' the look and design of the black console and cartridges as well. Man, I don't even care about this dumb debate... I HAVE to get my hands on one of these things!

Luckily, a few years later I was able to get a Genesis of my own and could finally dive into the blast processing world that had intrigued me so much as a youth. YOWZAA x2!!! Having access to the huge library of awesome titles that I read so much about in magazines felt surreal. Suddenly, I could shop in the Genesis section at my local Blockbusters or toy store instead of avoiding it like a pack of Greasers trying to shake me down . Now it's time see what these games are really all about!

DUDE... I'm in love!!! There's awesome and worthwhile titles in every corner of this thing! Fun platformers, sick arcade ports, twitchy puzzlers and many more all polished with Sega's unique blend of 'tudey visuals and twangy sounds. The 'Tude Dude approves ! Even though I didn't understand the full scope of the console wars when I was a kid, I began to realize the reasoning behind choosing a side and the pride that came with it. Now that the dust has long settled from that far off battle I can say with the utmost certainty that I'm a Genesis guy through and through and feel a special kinship with Sega's 16-bit juggernaut!

Processing through the Genesis library over the years has been a blast (lame pun intended) and attempting to choose 10 favorites will certainly be difficult considering its sheer size of mega power-infused titles but it's a challenge that I proudly accept. I feel well-traveled enough in the Genesis universe at this point and am curious to see which games fall where in my rankings after all these years (*cracks knuckles*... time to start crunching some numbers!). So without further ado... The 'Tude Dude presents a comprehensive breakdown of his favorite games from his favorite overall retro console... the Sega Genesis. SEGA !!!

The following is a list of The 'Tude Dude's 10 favorite Sega Genesis games of all time.


Honorable Mentions

-Strider, Road Rash 1 & 3, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, TMNT: The Hyperstone Heist, Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi & Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, Ghouls 'n Ghosts, NBA Hangtime, Contra: Hard Corps, Kid Chameleon, Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse & Mickey Mania, Columns 1 & 3, NFL Football series, Super Hang-On, Mega Man: The Wily Wars, Golden Axe 1 & 2, Mortal Kombat series, Mutant League Football, Phantasy Star series, Splatterhouse 3, Rocket Knight Adventures, Tommy Lasorda Baseball, Rolling Thunder 2 & 3, Madden NFL series, Street Fighter 2: Special Champion Edition, PGA Tour Golf series, Out of This World, Evander Holyfield's 'Real Deal' Boxing, Mega Bomberman, The Adventures of Batman & Robin, NHL Hockey & NHLPA '93, Pat Riley Basketball, Alien Soldier, Gauntlet IV, Earthworm Jim 1 & 2, Pirates! Gold, NBA Jam & NBA Jam T.E., Streets of Rage 1 & 3, Quackshot starring Donald Duck, Strike series (Desert, Jungle and Urban), Jerry Glanville's Pigskin Footbrawl, King Salmon: The Big Catch, Alisia Dragoon, The Punisher, Vectorman 1 & 2, FIFA Soccer series, Mercs, Truxton, Shining Force 1 & 2, Toejam & Earl, NBA Live series, General Chaos, Championship Pro-Am, Thunder Force series, Sunset Riders, Tony La Russa Baseball, Super Off Road, Mario Lemieux Hockey, X-Men 2: Clone Wars, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, Jurassic Park, Outrun, Haunting Starring Polterguy, Disney's Aladdin, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles and the stupidly appropriate for the Genesis, Comix Zone.

Thanks for reading! Question or comment? Feel free to leave below.

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List items

  • Extra Honorable Mention

    -With an action-oriented gameplay style reminiscent of a Megaman/Contra mash-up on crack, Gunstar Heroes pushes the Genesis hardware to the max and mesmerizes the eyes with beautiful graphics in all phases during this bullet-hell adventure!

  • Extra Honorable Mention

    -A tight and responsive control style, deep set of modes and real tennis pros like Pete Sampras and Arthur Ashe make ATP Tour Championship Tennis the premiere racket sport game found in this generation.

  • Extra Honorable Mention

    -One of the coolest entries in the realm of shoot em' ups, M.U.S.H.A. quickly fills the screen with aggressive enemies lofting tons of projectiles at your "hybrid armor" but luckily your packed to the brim with a boatload of firepower in your own arsenal to return the favor!

  • Extra Honorable Mention

    -Probably the 'tudiest pinball experience that can be found in gaming, Devil's Crush (which was later renamed Dragon's Fury after being ported to the Genesis) kicks major ass and adds tons of interesting depth to a relatively simple premise.

  • Extra Honorable Mention

    -Sort of like a mixture between Super Hang-On and Streets of Rage, the Road Rash trilogy was a biker brawling 'tude-filled injection into any Genesis collection with Road Rash II standing out to me as the pinnacle of the series.

  • #10

    -With laugh-out-loud quality comedy and a fun gameplay style reminiscent of EA's regular NHL series, Mutant League Hockey has always been one of my personal favorite arcade style sports games and is as fun and unique as anything I've played from this era. Players can die from hazards on the ice, collect powerups, get into fights and of course score goals, all combined with an excellently clever roster of caricature teams and players based on the real NHL. Now who's got the mutant guts to stop my Lizard Kingz from claiming the Monster Cup? Oh... some of you guys don't even have guts at all, nevermind!

  • #9

    -Even though the Genesis is mostly known for more hardcore and edgy titles, games like Ecco the Dolphin showcased a beautiful and more relaxed type of art style which coupled perfectly with the under the ocean setting that inhabits this action/adventure game. Controlling Ecco is a breeze and the graphics and music take my brain to a place of tranquility that I have not truly experienced in any other Genesis game (or game period really). Spanning across oceans, alien ships, ...even time, Ecco the Dolphin marvels as a uniquely branded adventure game full of charm and satisfaction that will have you wanting to help this star-marked dolphin rescue his pod again and again. My only wish is that I could fight back against that damn tentacle-slapping octopus!

  • #8

    -Holy crap, Splatterhouse 2 is freakin' cool as hell and one of 'tudiest games found on the whole Genesis. Basically, a sidescrolling beat 'em up against a horde of different strange looking monsters, Splatterhouse 2 stands out by going over-the-top in the gore department and provides a fun bash-everything-you-see adventure that excels in just about every way that you would want. Seriously, how can you not like a game where you take control of a Jason Vorhees looking protagonist and beat the ever-living crap out of every weird looking thing in sight? Especially when most of them are puking on you! Plus, there's a boss who has chainsaw arms. ...Be still my heart!

  • #7

    -I'm not sure if it's a cop out or not to include an entire series into one slot (a dynamic that may happen again in the future)... but screw it! It's my list and I'll do what I want!!! With that said, the World Series Baseball franchise still ranks as one of my all time favorite video game baseball experiences ever and offers an insane amount of gameplay modes and customizing options including a very unique "batters box perspective" graphical style that puts you closer into the game than ever before. Sega Sports really knocks it out of the park with immersive visuals, simple controls and plenty of different ways to crack home runs and make diving catches in the outfield whether your squaring off against a friend or the computer. Also... you get to play as Babe Ruth... EXCELLENT! *Sings horribly out of key* "TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME!!!"

  • #6

    -Hell yeah! Joe Musashi returns to take revenge on the likes of Neo Zeed for killing his master and kidnapping his wife in The Revenge of Shinobi. While early releases of the game were faced with a litany of copyright issues by including a multitude of licensed characters, The Revenge of Shinobi stood out from the crowd despite its association with using plagiarized sprites by having some of the most responsive controls, memorable music and satisfying ninja action that you could find in any game of the generation. I have to say... if you can get your hands on an early version of the game then it's totally worth it. You get to fight Godzilla, Rambo, Spiderman and more as opposed to generic replacements which really increases Joe's ninja awesomeness in the grand scheme if you ask me (though the redesigned version is still incredibly worthy as well). You hear that Ryu Hayabusa? Give us a call whenever you survive a brush with Batman!

  • #5

    -Improving on its predecessor in every way, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 races to the top of the video game mountain with a bright and vivid eye pleasing art style, outstanding music & sounds, tight controls and a brand new multiplayer mode which increased the replay value. Widely hailed as "the greatest sequel of all time", Sonic the Hedgehog 2 impresses in every way as THE killer app for the Sega Genesis while offering one of the best run and jump experiences that can be found in the realm of gaming. Without question, my favorite platform game on the Genesis, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is easily in the running for best platform game of all time! Hehe... running.

  • #4

    -Offering one of my favorite rpg experiences on any system, Shadowrun is a unique and in-depth story driven title with tons of interesting characters, fun gameplay and one of the 'tudiest settings for a video game world that I have ever encountered. Almost like a mix of The Matrix and Lord of the Rings story-wise, Shadowrun stands out with unique dialogue options when encountering characters, an open ended and free feeling exploring style, the ability to jack into "the net" (or cyberspace... whichever you prefer) to perform various tasks and more, all garnished with an array of radical cyberpunk sights and sounds. It really is as cool as described so grab your trenchcoat, sidearm and hacking equipment (err... and your Genesis I guess) and meet me in downtown Seattle for some Shadowrunning action chummers!

  • #3

    -The unquestioned "king of the console beat 'em up", Streets of Rage 2 can proudly challenge any other of its type on any other system during this generation (or any other) bar none. Slick controls, satisfying hit detection, hum-inducing music and impressive graphics mix together perfectly to create perhaps the best ever brawler game during this heyday of arcade style beat 'em ups being released in the 16-bit generation. Improving on its predecessor in just about every way imaginable (similar to Sonic 2), Streets of Rage 2 shines brightest in multiplayer, challenging any other title on the console (maybe more) for the mantle of best "2 player game" with its simplicity and fun factor allowing for many different types of gamers to jump in instantly and start stomping heads. Man, as far as I'm concerned, Mr. X and his band of mohawked goons can show up and pollute the streets with as much rage as they want as long as Axel, and co. can keep cleaning them back up again! Who knew road maintenance could be so fun?

  • #2

    -WOW is this game fun! Castlevania: Bloodlines pushes the Sega Genesis to new heights with outstanding graphics, cool music, tight controls and fun gameplay in addition to supplying the series with new characters and locations. Taking place all over Europe, Bloodlines somehow feels both drastically different and comfortably similar to previous entries and slides in beautifully to any Genesis collection. Speaking of beautiful, this game is pure unadulterated art, pushing the boundaries of 16-bit visual representation to a new level of impressiveness that has to be seen to understood (seriously, you'll swear this is somehow 17-bit) while maintaining all the other high-quality standards that permeate within the franchise. Simply perfect in execution, Bloodlines remains not only a top entry in the Castlevania library but one of the greatest Sega Genesis games of all time. So, do all of the vampire killers of the world a favor and start placing pot roasts inside of random walls today!

  • #1

    -Man, did I wear out my collection of NHL games on the Genesis! EA's entire NHL series was complete gold after 94 (while not being too shabby before either) and I salivated each year for the next edition until its final entry on the system (NHL 98). Containing all the features that an uber sports nerd (like myself) could ever ask for, the NHL series expertly blended action packed gameplay, fun controls and mega deep customizable options together into a beautiful orchestra of chaotic bliss that only got better with each subsequent release after the classic '94 edition first set the bar for console-sports greatness. It's basically like Pong on CRACK (a good thing... trust me) fine-tuned to blast processing perfection and peppered with a sports arena aesthetic that hooked me like a rainbow trout instantly and kept my Genesis working overtime! No matter if I'm battling in a fun back-and-forth affair against a friend or guiding my beloved LA Kings to the Stanley Cup in season mode alone, the NHL series always has something to offer and represents my favorite overall experience on Sega's 16-bit 'tude machine. Not to mention, you can finally take out some healthy aggression on any professional players that you may not be too particularly fond of (where you at Lindros... SMACK)!