The MSX2 is the upgraded version of the MSX standard. It maintained full backwards compatibility, and while the CPU remained the same, it provided better video and audio chips and much more RAM. A number of early MSX games were re-released as MSX2-upgraded versions. The standard was followed by the MSX2+ and MSX turboR standards, but the market for the MSX was already declining at that point, so these only managed to find some success in Japan and Brazil.
Note: this list is only for games that require an MSX2 computer. Games compatible with the first generation MSX machines go on their own page. Many games have slightly different MSX and MSX2 versions; in such cases, the MSX2 version is usually superior, so add only the MSX2 version here and not the older MSX version.
The list[edit | edit source]
|Aleste||Shoot 'em Up||Classic compile shooter that defines classic vertical shmups. Very smooth scrolling and nice graphics.|
|Aleste 2||Shoot 'em Up||Sequel to the above that vastly improves upon each aspect.|
|Ashguine Story 2||Shoot 'em Up/Action-Adventure||Ashguine Story 2 is pretty different. It controls like a shmup and even has vertical shmup-like layouts, but has extra paths and adventure elements to it. Hell, you can't even turn in directions, instead you just strafe while facing forward. Your initial sword attack is pretty limited making it kind of hard early on. While it may be niche amongst niche, it is worth giving a fair shot, even just as a curiostiy, unlike Ashguine 1 and 3, which, eh, aren't so much.
It has a japanese-to-english translation patch.
|Dragon Slayer IV: The Drasle Family||Action-Adventure||If you've played this on the NES, you might know this as Legacy of the Wizard. The two versions play similarly enough, 4 family members and their "dog" with different abilities each, but there's several differences. The MSX map shares a few similar areas, but there's also notable differences and some tools are found in different locations vs from the NES version, and the music is different at times as well. If you don't mind the non-scrolling versus the smoother NES version and are hankering for more Dragon Slayer-an action, look no further.
The MSX1 version is also fine, but this one is preferable if you have a choice. Still, for an MSX1 game, it's one of the best. It's just that this one is just a bit better, mostly in aesthetics.
|Dragon Slayer (VI): The Legend of Heroes||RPG||The Dragon Slayer series mixes it up again, this entry being more traditional turn-based, almost Dragon Quest-ish, RPG setting and gameplay, though it has some unique aspects to keep things fresh. Although the original is in Japanese, there's a translation patch to play in English. It scores rather high in all categories and is one of those games that show off just how pimp the MSX2 is. Listen to those jams!
Also, it ended up becoming its own series.
|Final Fantasy||RPG||Arguably the better 8-bit version of the original. Has far better graphics and sound but at the cost of MSX quality scrolling.|
|Fire Hawk: Thexder The Second Contact||Platformer||AKA Thexder 2. Much better graphics and more elaborate levels with indoor and outdoor areas. A great game, but it must be said: the music is nowhere near as catchy as the original.|
|Ganbare Goemon: Karakuri Douchuu||Action||A somewhat Zelda-ish game where you have to find items to advance as quickly as possible. Better than the Famicom game as it has a password feature and more stages.|
|Hai no Majutsushi||Mahjong||Occasionally called "Magician of Tile" or "Mah-Jong 2" in the west, it's a Mahjong game starring all your favorite MSX Konami characters, including Pentarou, Simon Belmont, Goemon, Popolon + Aphrodite, Dr.Venom (Nemesis 2 MSX), Moai, and even Snatcher!|
|Hi no Tori Hououhen||Run and Gun||aka "Hino Tori". Plays similarly to Knightmare but on MSX2 hardware. Has a Hindu atmosphere like Usas (understandable, given the source). Very expensive outside of Japan and very useful since you can use this to save in King Kong 2.|
|King Kong 2||Action RPG||First off, the movie sucked. This game doesn't. Even though the NES game has a similar name, you play as Mitchel(l) instead of Kong. As expected of a Konami title, especially on MSX, there's lots of tools and items for you to find, a huge world to explore, and lots of traps and enemies to face. There wasn't originally an English translation, though you can find a Korean ROM, which is full English, or a translation patch. Either way, be ready, because this is early Konami, which means HARD.|
|King's Valley II||Puzzle-Platformer||60 levels of more puzzle-platforming goodness. Better aesthetics, new tools, and new platform elements (such as ladders) make this a bit less of a hassle than KV1, but don't think for a second the puzzles don't exploit this to come up with more ways to challenge you think even harder.
Comes in MSX and MSX2 versions, though surprisingly, these versions aren't too different. Feel free to pick up either, or even both.
|King's Valley 2: Edit Contest Version||Puzzle-Platformer/
|A bunch of chaps made their own levels and Konami compiled them all into a single disk of pain. DO NOT even think about playing this one first, as beating King's Valley 1 and 2 is highly recommended (and arguably required) as the challenge level is made specifically for KV veterans. When you feel experienced, brave, and/or foolish enough: pop it in and enjoy the ride.|
|Malaya no Hihou||Action-Adventure||AKA "Malaya's Treasure". A platformer-ish adventure game where you put on your best Indiana Jones imitation and utilize secrets, loot, platforming skills, and various tools in your pursuit of a hidden haul. As expected, there's plenty of opposition from wildlife and monsters, and bigass boss-demons. Like adventure games, talking with people is key, not only to buy things, but also to gain hints and info on the obstacles ahead. Japanese-only, but has an english translation patch.|
|Metal Gear||Stealth||Well it's only the first fucking game in the Metal Gear franchise can it really be all that great? Yes, yes it can. It's a lot like Ghost Babel, but less limited due to being on a computer. If you somehow don't know, the NES game is different from this one in a number of areas, though the core gameplay is similar.
Re-released with MG2:SS below, both in the special version of MGS3: Subsistence on PS2 with minor differences (one big key difference in those versions is that the character portraits have been altered).
|Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake||Stealth||Amazing sequel to the first that improves upon everything like a good sequel should. A bit more like the later games in that you have more maneuverability and the fact that the story and characters are more fleshed out. If you enjoyed Ghost Babel and the Solid series in general, then this one is closer to those than MG1. Also, be aware than enemies are craftier now, so you can't just swap screens to save your hide anymore!
As mentioned above, you can find an altered version of this on Subsistence as well. But who doesn't want to play as Solid Sly Stallone?
|Pennant Race 1 / 2||Sports||Extremely good baseball games by Konami that have lots of personality (like Neo Geo Pocket Color graphics) and are light years ahead oh Konami Baseball for the MSX1.|
|Quarth||Puzzle / Shoot 'em Up||It's like Tetris and space invaders put together. Also on NES but they're about the same.|
|Rastan Saga||Platformer||Play as badass barbarian
|SD Snatcher||RPG||Yeah, it's FUCKING SNATCHER, only it's an RPG. Also, some plot points are a bit different as well, so you don't think you've played the normal Snatcher with this. A neat element about this is that you can utilize tools and body-part targeting to your advantage. An enemy robot has wheels? Rip them to shreds, and he's a sitting duck! Because Metal Gear got turned into Puchi/Petit-sized, he now serves as an auto-battle, and he'll typically exploit any smart tactics you've used to topple enemies.
One of best the games on the system, and probably the best 8-bit graphics you will ever see (at least on MSX). It even takes several floppy disks to play.
Originally Japanese only, but an english translation patch was made.
|Shin Maou Golvellius||Action-Adventure||A loose remake of the original Golvellius to the upgraded MSX2 hardware. It loosely follows the concepts of the first, but re-imagines it with new life, giving you towns, side-quests, NPCs, and a bit more conversation beyond finding people in caves. As expected, the overworld, dungeons, and even bosses get generally altered, if not removed, added, or remixed. It's definitely a big step up from before, but it retains (and improves) the core triple-gameplay concept from before.
Japanese-only, but has an english translation patch, and once had an official english emulation via the now-dead woomb.net service.
|Snatcher||Adventure||Yep, the most original version* (almost, it's a port of the PC-88 version). This one is different from the console (for the curious, Sega CD is the best console one currently in english), largely due to the PC-centric format (i.e. press "number" to action) and there's some other elements changed as well (example: "Search the House"). The MSX2 version was fan translated if you can want to give this one a shot. Do note that it lacks Act 3 from later versions (though some hate Act 3, so feel free to argue as you will).|
|Super Cooks||Action-Adventure/Cook 'em up?||Another variation/remake of Golvellius. Well, sort of. It's a self-parody where now everything is culinary and/or food-based and just plain goofy as hell. The game is structured a little differently than the other games, requiring you to find pretty much every secret possible to proceed. In addition, the vertical-shmup style dungeon corridors have been removed, and the side-scrollers solely remain (save for the overworld and boss fights, naturally). They've been altered though, so now you have to hunt down 4 items per dungeon to reach its boss. As a result of these changes, the game is notably shorter, but sweeter.
Japanese-only, but has a partial english translation patch.
|Space Manbow||Shoot 'em Up||Great MSX2 shooter with wonderful visuals and music. Considered to be a spiritual sequel to Thunder Cross. Comes in hybrid MSX2/MSX2+ cart with improved scrolling on MSX2+|
|Treasure of Uşas||Adventure / Platformer||(Meant to be pronounced Ushas) A strange platformer that has two characters with different abilities exploring 5 ruins each with their own 4 stages and a boss fight. The game also considers the current character's emotion into play, as they will become stronger or weaker in different ways depending on the emotion, thus making you consider who to play as for each stage.|
|Vampire Killer||Platformer||AKA "Akumajo Dracula" or "Castlevania". Very different from the NES one. Has superior graphics and sound, but no scrolling. Each "area" is revamped into a sort of semi-non-linear structure, now with the need to find a key to open a locked door to progress to next area. There's a few alternate bosses compared to the NES version and also shops. One key difference is no sub-weapons. Whatever you're using is your only attack, and, again, some work a bit differently compared to the NES, like the Axe acting akin to the NES Cross/Boomerang.|
|Ys II||Action RPG||A pretty good version of Ys 2, if not one of the best 8-bit versions. Ys 2 is like a more action-centric Zelda. The emphasis is on combat and fighting massive and tricky bosses over solving puzzles (though there still are some to solve). This is the best of the Ys series on MSX because the first is rather basic, and the 3rd deserves to be played on a faster and stronger system rather than making the poor MSX struggle to keep up with the power and speed demanded of Ys 3. This one has enough game to keep you satisfied, and you get filled in on 1's story along the way, so don't worry about missing important details, plot-wise. You do need a translation patch though.|
|Consoles||Action Max - Atari 7800 - Amstrad GX4000 - RDI Halcyon - View-Master Interactive Vision - Sega Master System - Nintendo Entertainment System - Casio PV-1000 - VTech Socrates - Epoch Super Cassete Vision|
|Computers||Mattel Aquarius - Acorn Archimedes - Commodore 64 - Amstrad CPC - Fujitsu FM-7 - Apple Lisa - Apple Macintosh - Microsoft MS-DOS - ASCII MSX - ASCII MSX2 - IBM OS-2 - NEC PC-88 - NEC PC-98 - Amstrad PCW - Sinclair QL - Commodore VIC-20 - Sharp X1 - Sinclair ZX Spectrum|