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Sega Mega Drive logo.svg
"Genesis does what Nintendon't."

The Sega Mega Drive (called Sega Genesis in the US for legal reasons) is long known as the SNES' rival. It's not as powerful as SNES, but a number of games had faster flowing action in terms of processing power (blast processing like it or not was bullshit), '''AND''' it offers backwards compatibility with the Master System (but you can't run SG-1000 games even though they are compatible with Master System). Because of differences in cartridge shape you need Power Base Converter, or similar adapter, but some of the games still need Master System gamepad to work properly.

Mega Drive also has two other add-ons, the Mega-CD and 32X for extra power but does not make it stronger than the SNES.

Revisions & Clones[]

There are several revisions of the Genesis. The three main ones are the original "High-Definition Graphics" model, the Genesis 2, and Genesis 3. The Genesis 1 and 2 have a bunch of internal revisions as well. Mostly with sound. Some will sound better than others. The original modes from launch are usually the best with sound in mind. You can tell as they will have the Mega Modem port on the back. There are certain mods that are available that can help restore the sound to original genesis units (see Triple Bypass mod).

The Genesis 3 was a late model released for cheap. A stock unit is really only good for Genesis games. Compatibility with the Master System, 32x, Virtua Racing, and Sega CD were stripped out to make it cheaper. It also only outputs mono sound. There are mods to restore most of these features (not Sega CD though).

There's also number of clone consoles available, and some of them are even officially licensed! The Super Retro Trio, Retron3, and Retron5 are pretty good. The Retron5 is basically an emulation box with support for original cartridges and controllers. One of the best features is the ability to use patches on original cartridges. Great for hacks and translations.

Stay Faraway from anything made by AtGames. Most, if not all, of their clones are shit. Bad replication of the genesis all around.

The best, by far, is Analogue's SG Mega. Like Analogue's other systems, is based on a FPGA chip and runs everything perfectly. There are additional audio options so you can tweak based on what type of sound chips your original Genesis had. Compatibility with other devices is pretty great as well. With adapters, you can also play Master System, Game Gear, and SG-1000 titles. And those few MS titles that don't work with Genesis controllers finally do! It's also includes an edge connector for Sega CD support! The 32x usage might be possible with the DAC. Like the Super NT, it has a built-in game: the unreleased Ultracore by DICE.

For Genesis/Mega Drive gaming on the go, check out the Nomad (made by SEGA), GenMobile (smaller, lighter, cheaper, and better battery life), or Gopher (digital-based version of the former; takes SD cards).


For flashcarts, the Mega Everdrive series are great. Everything for Genesis is compatible, including Ultimate Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Includes support for Master System and 32x roms as well. Can also emulate the FM adapter for those games that support it on the MS. Also one of the few Everdrives to support save states. Though MS roms and save states don't work if you have the cart running through a 32x. That is an issue with the design of the 32x and not of any flashcart.

For many, the king of Genesis flashcarts is the MegaSD. Made by TerraOnion, the guys behind the fantastic Super SD System 3 for the PC Engine. The MegaSD does pretty much everything the Everdrives can do. But it also includes Sega CD support! Even without the physical addon!!!! It emulates it using a FPGA. This also means you can finally play Sega CD games on the go with a Nomad! You'll still need a 32x to run 32x roms. 32XCD still aren't supported, though you're not missing much. The MegaSD also includes MSU-1 like functionality called MD+.

Finally in 2020, the Mega Everdrive got an update in the Mega Everdrive Pro. Its the older Mega Everdrive but includes Sega CD support. Still no 32XCD support. No MD+ support either. The menus are a bit more basic on the Mega Everdrive. The MegaSD does have some additional Sega CD features like cheats and faster processing for "mode 7" like graphics. The Mega Everdrive Pro is pretty strict about what CD image formats it'll accept while the MegaSD can support more.

There's 3 different versions of the Mega Everdrive. The cheaper models don't have some of the more advance issues (larger rom sizes, slower load speeds, MS rom support, FM support). The highest level costs around ~$200. The MegaSD only has one version and it cost around €232/~$260.

Both these flash carts work perfectly with the SG Mega.

Genesis Mini[]

After the sucess of the NES and SNES mini, it was only time before Sega jumped onboard the Mini Console train. The inital news wasn't good, since it was announced that Sega was going to let AtGames handle the Mini system. Luckly, Sega listened to their fans and let Japanese emulation geniuses M2 handle the system.

The results are pretty good. It includes a lot more games than either the NES or SNES mini. A lot of heavy hitters. Emulation, as expected, is also great. On par with Nintendo's offerings. They even got Yuzo Koshiro to compose a new track as the menu music. All units contain all regions offerings, so you don't need to buy the Japanese version to get Puyo Puyo. Just switch the region on the system.

It also includes two "new" games. Both arcade ports. Darius and Sega's Tetris. The latter is different from the unreleased Genesis game, as it was portred from the Arcade code base.

The List[]

Box Art Title Genre Description
6pak.jpg 6-Pak Multicart An official multicart Sega put out pretty late into the MD's lifespan. Probably irrelevant if you're emulating, but a fine deal for those with an actual console. Includes some pretty classic early MD games listed below: Sonic 1, Golden Axe, Revenge of Shinobi, Streets of Rage, Columns and Super Hang-On. Unlike the Sega CD port of Golden Axe, this has the 2-player mode intact.

Revenge of Shinobi is the later release (1.3), with the Batman and Godzilla bosses missing but has Spider-Man due to Sega's license with Marvel at the time.

Europe got a few more of these with additional games swapped out.

AladdinG.jpg Aladdin Platformer Based on the Disney movie and known for its solid gameplay and quality spritework (artwork was done by actual Disney artists). Actually NOT the same game as the also good SNES version; by Capcom. The SNES version is more platform and acrobatic oriented, while this one is more combat-centric. The engine was programmed by David Perry, who went on to form Shiny Entertainment (Earthworm Jim, MDK).

Note: This game was re-released as part of the Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King, but what's interesting about it is that version includes a "Final Cut" mode, which contains adjusted boss patterns, new areas and secrets, and some bugfixes. It also includes the prototype version from the Summer CES 1993 event. And yes, you can extract the rom and play it on your preferred emulator.

Alien Soldier Coverart.png Alien Soldier Run 'n Gun A boss rush style game. Controls like Gunstar Heroes, but drops combos to let you hold 4 weapons (out of 6) instead. You can also change your shooting style at will, and even find extra weapon types in stages to alter/refill your ammo for the next boss. There's several skills to utilize, so master them early. While lacking in level design, it has a great soundtrack and extremely excellent boss design and attack patterns. There's only two difficulties: SuperEasy and SuperHard!
Images.jpg Alien Storm Beat 'em Up / Run 'n Gun / Rail Shooter Blow away aliens with lasers, bazookas and shit. It's a basic beat 'em up with cool features like run 'n gun or shooting sequences at the end of every level. And there is an energy meter. If you run low on your energy then you would find yourself beating aliens in hand to hand combat. Looks and plays a lot like Golden Axe so if you liked that give this a go.
Alisia Dragoon PAL.jpg Alisia Dragoon Platformer An outstanding platformer developed by Game Arts with help from the famous anime studio Gainax. You play as a sorceress who shoots lightning at her enemies. The lightning autotargets but depletes with repeated use, requiring players to carefully ration their attacks and preventing mindless spamming. You also have access to four different familiars who accompany you, each with different abilities. Gameplay consists of standard jumping across platforms, frying enemies, collecting powerups, and fighting big bosses, but it is executed very well.
Altered Beast.jpg Altered Beast Platformer / Beat 'em Up RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE! This game was what Genesis was about in 1989 before Sonic came out. Beat zombies and monsters, collect power ups, and become a vicious beast man. It's pretty limited, but it's worth playing at least once, if only for laughs. Being the console's original pack-in title, it has a lot of nostalgic value for many, regardless of its simplicity. Had some later spinoffs but they're pretty... different.
Foto Asterix and the Power of the Gods.jpg Asterix and the Power of the Gods Adventure / Platformer This game came out at the end of Genesis' lifespan, so good graphics and music are to be expected. There are some good animations and pretty good detailed backgrounds. Grab Asterix or Obelix and punch all the Romans to the ground while flying all over the world. Cheap deaths abound.
586036 84314 front-1-.jpg Atomic Runner Run 'n Gun An enhanced port of Data East's arcade classic Chelnov, this is a run 'n gun that gives you absolutely no time for backpedaling! You can only turn around to shoot whatever's behind you since it is always in autoscroll until the encounter with the stage boss. Features an unusual selection of weapons for the genre and the bizarre enemies and environments that feel completely out of place make for a very surreal experience.
Batman GenesisBoxboxart 160w.jpg Batman Platformer Based on the Tim Burton movie. It's by the same devs as the NES and Game Boy versions, but quite different from both. Most of the game is an admittedly simple sidescroller with some vertical sections here and there, but there are also shmup sections in the Batmobile and Batwing. Awesome music. No batdancing.
1013666.jpg Battletech Action / Shooter The gameplay is similar to Strike series, but here you are piloting fucking MADCAT. How badass is that? There are only five planets to walk around, but still you can destroy a lot of mechs and rape a lot of bases.
Battletoads MD cover.png Battletoads Beat 'em up / platformer Behold, the poignant drama of the unending war between amphibians and swines! Everyone already knows this from the NES, but this version has improved graphics and slightly reduced difficulty that make it more enjoyable (make no mistake, it's still crazy hard).
The Story of Thor MD cover.png Beyond Oasis /
The Story of Thor
Action / Adventure Once there were two magical armlets: the gold one could summon four elemental spirits, and the silver one could create chaos and destruction. Good news: you have found the gold armlet. Bad news: someone else has found the silver one. This game plays like a mix of Zelda, Ys, and Secret of Mana. In addition to exploring, running, jumping, kicking, and slashing, you summon the spirits of fire, water, shadow, and plants, which can affect certain obstacles and enemies. There's a variety of weapons as well, which have skills of their own for extra ass-kicking. Gorgeous graphics, impressive dungeons and bosses, and music by Yuzo Koshiro.

Legend of Oasis for the Sega Saturn is a prequel. A freeware game, Guardian of Paradise plays like a homage to this and the other mentioned games. Defenders of Oasis on Game Gear has nothing to do with this series.

Burning Force MD cover.jpg Burning Force Rail shooter You're a space cadet and you must pass five days of training on a futuristic space scooter before facing real space combat. Or something like that. Despite the MD's limitations, this is a pretty faithful port of the arcade, only its excessive challenge was rebalanced by the addition of a life bar. If you like the After Burner style, this one is obligatory.
Castle of illusion Mickey mouse.jpg Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse Platformer Guide Mickey Mouse through the rooms of a magical castle to save Minnie Mouse from the evil witch Mizrabel. A simple and easy, yet undeniably polished and fun platformer. Gorgeous graphics, catchy music, and great gameplay. Just give it a shot, even if you never played it before, chances are you'll still get a shot of nostalgia.

The SMS/GG version has vastly different level design, and it's also very good, so play that too. Check also the sequel below, World of Illusion. And check the 3DS spiritual sequel, Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion.

There's a downloadable remake for X360/PS3/PC, but it's kind of meh.

Castlevania Bloodlines.jpg Castlevania Bloodlines /
The New Generation
Platformer Another fantastic entry in the series. This one takes place after the actual Dracula novel, starring John Morris, Quincy Morris' son. John can swing with his whip from certain surfaces. You can also use his pal, Eric, whose spear (when powered up) has 8-way striking (like Super Castlevania Simon) and a handy high jump. Both can use sub-weapons and mini-versions of item crashes. The Japanese version is slightly easier, and in full English. The PAL version is censored so avoid if possible.
Chakan MD Cover.jpg Chakan: The Forever Man Platformer What's the worst thing that can happen when you challenge Death itself for a duel? Well, you can win, and be cursed with an eternal life of agony that will only ever cease if you destroy all evil. A nice platformer with a very dark atmosphere. You start in a hub dimension and enter portals which take you to the stages proper, where you platform and slice and dice demons. Hands down one of the most difficult games for the system.
COLUMNS III GENESIS BOX.jpg Columns III Puzzle A competitive-styled Columns game. Similar to Puyo Puyo/Pop, but this features multiple items capable of causing chaos on your enemy's field, and preventing assaults on your own. Also has a "screw over the other player" button, which makes your enemy's field rise up while lowering your own. Its potential depends on a number gauge on your side, which increases when you play well. Funfact: There WAS a Columns II, it was a japanese arcade-only game though.
Comix Zone Coverart.png Comix Zone Beat 'em Up Insanely difficult (but great) game with a cool premise; you play as a comic book artist trapped in his own work. Fell under the radar since it was released at the death of the Genesis. Has interesting elements of traveling between panels (with some branching paths) and even some minor puzzle and platformer elements. Has nifty art design supposedly done by comic book pros, along with a wicked cool soundtrack by Howard Drossin (who also provides some voices). Although it has a GBA port, that version should be avoided. The game is best played with a 6-button controller setup for ease of item usage. Protip: There's a risky easter egg attack that can be done by holding "Punch".
Contra Hard Corps.jpg Contra: Hard Corps Run 'n Gun Another great incarnation of the classic series, this one focusing mainly on boss fights. Adds a slide and 4 different characters to play as. Arguably a better game than Contra III (due to no crazy overhead stages), and a fuckton better than the shit sequels to come on the PS1 (Konami finally fixed their shit with the PS2 games and Contra 4).

Note: use this patch to restore the Japanese version's lifebar.

Crusader of Centy.png Crusader of Centy /
Soleil /
Action / Adventure At first it smells of "Zelda-clone", but it soon becomes a great adventure game with its own unique combat, lighthearted story and amusing monsters. Soon after your outset, the hero, Corona, becomes unable to talk with people, but can talk with animals, who ally with him and work akin to gadgets, and some can even combine their skills. After that, your quest to become normal leads into a grand adventure throughout the world and time itself that questions and unravels the "inherent" evil of monster-kind. Music and location design are great, and the game itself even looks like LttP, which is IMPRESSIVE AS FUCK considering the MD's limits. Has a spiritual successor in Linkle Liver Story for the Saturn, which also does its own things, Only released in Japan, but has a fan translation.
Decapattack.jpg Decap Attack Platformer Spiritual sequel to Psycho Fox on the Master System, but MUCH cooler. You play a headless mummy. Your main attack is thrusting your guts out, though you can find a boomerang-skull to use, too. In addition, you can use potions, which add many neat effects to your character. Controls are good (though momentum takes getting used to) and graphics are fun and creepy. The horror theme was added for the American release. The original Japanese version is based on an anime: "Magical Hat no Buttobi Tabo Daiboken", is harder, and arguably less inspired. The levels and stage design are different though, so you may want to check it out.
Demolitionman.jpg Demolition Man Run 'n Gun A VERY intense game, you have no time stand there, you should run forward and capture the most dangerous criminal of the 21st century! At first game looks too easy, just shoot and run, but actually you have to pay close attention to the level layout and enemies, because John Spartan dies too fast. Very nice sound and animation.
Desert Demolition MD Cover.jpg Desert Demolition Starring Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote Platformer This is the only good Road Runner game. Why? Because this one acknowledges that the true star of the show is Coyote, and thus you can play as him to hunt down the Road Runner. Of course, you can play as the Road Runner, but why would you do it anyway?
Desert Strike MD cover.jpg Desert Strike Shooter One of the best shooters of all time. You complete tasks and rescue missions on non-linear maps while trying to keep your Apache in the air. Collect fuel and ammo frequently, dude. Has a few sequels as well. Also on DOS, SNES, GBA and other platforms.
Dinosaurs for Hire MD.jpg Dinosaurs for Hire Run 'n Gun Think "Contra with Dinosaurs", throw in a melee button, and you've got one pretty kickass game. Based on a crazy comic book from the nineties.
Dynamite Headdy Coverart.png Dynamite Headdy Platformer Quirky platformer. Headdy swaps his head with other various heads to pass obstacles and defeat baddies. Another gem by Treasure. The English version had increased difficulty, some bosses were changed, and a ton of dialogue was removed. So use the translation patch on the Japanese ROM.
Earthworm Jim 2 (EUR).png Earthworm Jim 2 Platformer / Craziness More levels, more variety (sadly, only half the stages are platformer run n' gun, but others are weird enough to make up for it), more humor, more cows, more Jim. Great sequel with arguably everything improved. GROOVY! Released and reissued on many consoles. Jim is now a Blind Cave Salamander! What color is Jim's RED Gun? The first EWJ was improved and remastered on Sega CD.
Ecco-cover.jpg Ecco The Dolphin Action / Adventure Play as a fucking dolphin while doing flips and shit. Save your Dolphins friends from aliens or something. Great fucking game. Slightly improved on Sega CD. Some differences in the Japanese version of the game, including toned-down difficulty, a couple extra songs, and a level that was left out of the US release, so be sure to keep that in mind when choosing your ROM. Hard as shit!
Tides.jpg Ecco: The Tides of Time Action / Adventure Much like the first game, which isn't a bad thing. Also known as "What is this I don't even: The Game." Features a level where you cross a jellyfish in the sky. Also hard as shit! One of the creepiest and most fantastic soundtracks on the genesis. Like the first, also has a slightly improved port on the Sega CD. A third, 3D Ecco came out on Dreamcast, which was later poorly ported to the PS2. This game has one of the most FRUSTRATING cliffhanger endings in any game ever.
Elemental Master.jpg Elemental Master Shoot 'em Up FUCK YEAH TECHNOSOFT. You play a sorcerer on a quest to free an enslaved goddess and stop a corrupt warlord or some shit. There's seven levels - the first four can be done in any order, each having an elemental aspect (new shot type) that's assimilated after completing it. Gameplay is pretty standard fare, but you can fire below you. This game has some INCREDIBLE synth music done by the guy behind Thunder Force III/IV that will really get you pumped in game. It's also pretty hard.
Eliminate Down.jpg Eliminate Down Shoot 'em Up Never heard of this one before? No wonder, this is among the rarest Mega Drive games. Quite the injustice, as it also happens to be one of its best shooters. Fantastic graphics, great soundtrack, tight gameplay, insane difficulty.
Fire Shark.jpg Fire Shark Shoot 'em Up Fantastic vertical shooter where you pilot a biplane across 10 levels. You have a choice of several weapons that can be upgraded to devastating effect. The flamethrower in particular is a monstrous weapon which, at full power, covers the screen with pillars of flame, destroying anything it touches! A lot of the difficulty is spent AVOIDING those shitty blue/green power-ups, like in areas where six blue ones pollute the screen as if the developers are saying "STOP HAVING FUN WITH THE RED ONE!". Scaled down arcade ports are usually bad, Fire Shark sidesteps this limitation by making the action more accessible with reduced difficulty.
Flashback.jpg Flashback Adventure / Platformer Similar to Another World but plays rather differently. The year is 2142, and you suddenly find yourself in an alien jungle with a gun and erased memories. Beautiful graphics featuring rotoscoped animation and a good number of vector cutscenes, very impressive at the time (that's why they called it a "CD-ROM on a cartridge"). Also available for pretty much every platform under the sun, but (oh the irony) avoid the CD-based ports: they've replaced the cutscenes with CGs that have aged terribly. Had a very inferior sequel, Fade To Black on DOS and PSX.
Gaiares box art.jpg Gaiares Shoot 'em Up Pretty good shmup with a nifty power up system in that you have to steal shot power from your enemies with a single option, Kirby style! A bit on the slow side with stages averaging at about 5 minutes, but it's a fairly challenging game so you likely won't notice anyway. Plus, the graphics are a real treat to look at since it's one of the better looking Genesis titles.
Gain.jpg Gain Ground Shooter / Strategy A game with a really simple idea - you should get your forces to the end of the screen or kill all enemies. But here is a catch - there are many enemies on the screen, you should save hostages to obtain new grunts and your units are very slow and if you lost one that's it - you should use another one. So you have to strategically plan your attacks in real time trying not to lose your men (with a TIME LIMIT). There A LOT of levels. Really shines out in Co-op.
Garfield front.jpg Garfield: Caught in the Act Platformer Don't worry it's by SEGA. Garfield makes a rather nice transition here the graphics are smoothly animated and have plenty of personality, the music and sound effects are rather enjoyable, and fairly creative level design that works around the unique weapon that you get in each level. Not very difficult and fairly cheap, so if you're looking for a nice little gem to add here it is.
General Chaos Gen.jpg General Chaos Real-time Tactics Control a team of troops with different weapons as you assault the enemy team. This often involves storming their fortress. If an ally and enemy get too close, they duke it out, melee style. Smaller teams offer more console-controls, while larger teams are point-and-click, RTS style. Quite impressive for its time, and still good fun with two players, especially since the computer likes to be a cheating jerk at times.
Ghostbusters Mega Drive cover.jpg Ghostbusters Platformer Probably the best Ghostbusters game until the 2009 one. This is an MD exclusive by Compile, completely different from the widely ported C64 one by Activision.
Ghoulsghosts.jpg Ghouls 'n Ghosts Platformer The infamously hard platformer series returns! Prin-Prin is captured by that damn Firebrand/Red Arremer once again, and Arthur has to fight his way through plenty of medieval horror themed levels to save her! Easier than Ghosts 'n Goblins, but tougher than Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. Has a superior port on the SuperGrafx. This one changed A LOT.
Gley lancer.jpg Gley Lancer Shoot 'em Up A very rare and actually very impressive (and long) shmup. There are a lot of options from the beginning - you can configure your addons to shoot differently. There are even a long story delivered in manga style.

Japan-only, use the translation patch.

Genesis goldenaxe eu.jpg Golden Axe Beat 'em Up So, you beat up Death Adder and think this is over, like in the arcade, don't you? FUCK NO. Now you travel deeper into the dungeons to kill Death Bringer. Ignore the silver axe and the slightly degraded sound/graphics.
Golden Axe 2.jpg Golden Axe II Beat 'em Up Noted for being more refined and easier than the first Golden Axe and also being the last most similar to it before later sequels and side stories went their own routes. As typical GA fare goes: Commandeer enemy beasts, cast magic, or go melee, all of which are solo or done co-op with a second player. No relation to the arcade game Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder. Both GA sequels on the Genesis are console-exclusive.
Golden axe 3.png Golden Axe III Beat 'em Up Golden Axe featuring new characters and the ability to go through levels by different paths, adding replay value to a solid beat 'em up. Also a little easier than 2, but not by much.
Gunstar heroes.jpg Gunstar Heroes Run 'n Gun Treasure's first game, a run 'n gun in the vein of Contra ( makes sense seeing as Treasure is made up by former Konami employees). Best feature is the ability to combine weapons. Great fun in co-op. A remix (but IN THE FUTURE!) titled Gunstar Super Heroes is on GBA, but without combined weapons, though it does a lot of its own things well enough.
Grindstormer.jpg Grind Stormer Shoot 'em Up Very fast paced with gameplay likened to DonPachi (arcade) or even Recca (NES). The arcade had two different versions: the Japanese "V-V" (pronounced "vee five"), with a power-up bar a la Gradius, and the American "Grind Stormer", with a simpler system of power-ups and bombs a la Truxton; the home port includes both, selectable on the options screen.

Note: this game is notorious for simply dying out of nowhere, as Tengen skimped on the PCB's quality.

Haunting.jpg Haunting Starring Polterguy Being a Badass You play Polterguy, following this family around various houses to scare the living crap out of them by possessing objects in the house. Beware of the family dog! See also: Ghost Trick on the DS, which uses a similar premise of possession and manipulation, but revolves more around a murder mystery.
1369726146075-1-.jpg Hellfire Shoot 'em Up Second and last horizontal shooter Toaplan ever made, this game is proof that they were good enough to be making more. Features a multi-directional shot gimmick similar to Thunder Force and Eliminate Down with tight level design that always keeps you guessing which direction you'll need to switch to next. Very forgiving though, since you have a shield, bombs and an AI helper to get you through the 6 stages, but that doesn't mean it's easy!
Herzogzwei.jpg Herzog Zwei RTS / Shoot 'em Up This is the first GOOD console RTS, and still one of the best. Think Advance Wars, but real time, and instead of being limited to a cursor or an out-of-field CO, you're on the field in a transforming jet-mech, assisting your troops by fighting alongside them in shmup-like action. This adds a whole other level of strategy, as concentrating on either alone spells defeat. Incredible soundtrack and great multiplayer fun to be had here.
High seas havoc cover.jpg High Seas Havoc /
Captain Lang /
Capt'n Havoc
Platformer / Arcade A cool platform from Data East. In the game you play as an anthropomorphic seal named Havoc (Lang in the Japanese version) on a quest to rescue a girl named Bridget from the evil pirate Bernardo. Very nice and sweet, with soul put into it.
Jungle Book.jpg Jungle Book Platformer You can't go wrong with Disney based games made by Virgin Iteractive. And again that's the case. Maybe it appears to be a bit basic, but this game is just fun to play, and sometimes it provides a challenge. Animation is flawless (David Perry) and music is marvelous. Just another great 16-bit era platformer.
Jungle strike.png Jungle Strike Shooter Huge improvement over Desert Strike. You are a pilot of a modern chopper and only you can save the world from mass destruction. Now every map is completely unique and sometimes you can use other types of vehicles. Arguebly is the best in the Strike series.
Jurassic Park Genesis.jpg Jurassic Park Action Action platformer loosely based on the movie. You can play as either Dr. Grant, or an escaped Velociraptor. Grant has access to a bunch of different weapons that let you take on various dinosaurs in different ways, whereas the raptor has only its claws and a leaping attack. Iffy collision detection can make it frustrating at times, but still a damn fun game.
JP Rampage Edition.jpg Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition Action Not the same game as the first. Uses the same graphics DISREGRARD graphics are massively improved with smoother animations, but if you wanted more levels to trounce, then Rampage Edition's got you covered with a new Velociraptor to play as and a different human to go through levels. Almost like an expansion with a full game's worth of levels.
Kid-chameleon gen.jpg Kid Chameleon Platformer Platformer in the vein of Mario, but with a ton of unique powerups. The game sports a ton of levels, that depending on how you exit them, will play out in a different order, creating opportunity for a lot of replay value.
King Colossus.jpg King Colossus Action-RPG A game in the vein of Startropics, Ys, and Zelda, with elements of each (platforming, multiple weapons, and hidden passages). Starts a bit slow, but picks up fast. The action's a little stiff, but still enjoyable. The bosses start small, but some TAKE UP MORE THAN THE SCREEN CAN SHOW. The story has some neat twists that'll keep you playing and the action only gets better.

Japan-only, use the translation patch.

Landstalker-cover.jpg Landstalker Action-RPG Think isometric Zelda, but puzzles require more logic and less gadgets. You can also jump. The controls take a bit of time to get used to, but once you get them down, you'll be set to enjoy this mighty fine game. The team members who made this went on to make similar games, such as Dark Savior and Alundra.
564392 5012 front.jpg Langrisser II TRPG a.k.a. "Langrisser Hikari" Sequel to Warsong. Story and dialog are a bit better and the massive ass fields full of foes are just as impressive. Although Der Langrisser is preferable, this version is still great, and has some of the best non-CD-based music of the series (especially compared to the SNES version's music, which is just bad).

Japan-only, use the translation patch.

Lightcrusader.gif Light Crusader Action-RPG You are a crusader on vacation in king's domain. But then you realize that many of the townsfolk have disappeared and you should go into the dungeons to save them. It feels like Landstalker, but with more magic, weirder bosses and equally interesting puzzles. You can combine 4 elements: fire, water, earth, wind for several different spells, especially since you can combine in 2s and 3s. Starts deceptively easy, but gets quite tough around the middle and more so after that. Unexpectedly, the realistic western art-style makes it seem western-made, but it's really by TREASURE of all companies! That said, it's still very solid, and has some pretty awesome music.
Magical Taluluto Kun Mega Drive cover.jpg Magical Taluluto-kun Platformer An insanely cute platformer based on a manga. You play this cute little wizard who comes out of a children's book to help a schoolboy beat the bullies and get the girls. Did I mention the game is cute? Everything is very cartoony and colorful, but in a nice way, never garish. The music is very pleasant too, and even the hero's voice clips are cute. A very fun game, if a bit short and mostly on the easy side. The first major title by a small company called Game Freak, who later did the stunning Pulseman, the excellent Drill Dozer on the GBA, and a bunch of games about pocket monsters or something like that.
Dhymd.jpg Mamono Hunter Yohko: Dai Nana no Keishō Action / Platformer Do not be misled by the cutesy cover, this game is based on Devil Hunter Yohko, which is about as racy as an animu can get while still falling short of being called hentai.[1] Not that any of the racy bits ended in this game, though: it's just a platformer, but a damn good and challenging one. What a crying shame it hasn't caught on to anyone. Gameplay is vaguely reminiscent of Valis, with an addition of a charge shot which acts as an aim-able shield boomerang which you WILL need to master in order to survive since enemies spit out tons of bullets almost all the time.
Marvelland.jpg Marvel Land /
Talmit's Adventure
Platformer Despite the cover looking creepy as fuck, it's a whimsical little platformer from the arcades. Actually, it's more fleshed out stage-wise than the arcade version with difficulty altered (some parts are harder, others easier). As Prince Talmit, you go to "Coni" Island (yes, seriously) to help your kidnapped princess friend and her fairy galpals and defeat the goofy stooges of some Mole King douchebag. The platforming parts have well done level design and even secret warps. You can also get power-ups like gliding, or shadow-clones to attack with. The bosses are mini-game styled, but amusing and fair enough. There's just something fun about this game. Well, it is Namco!
Mauimallardgenesis.jpg Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow /
Donald in Maui Mallard
Platformer / Action A unique game featuring Donald Duck like you've never seen him before. This time he can shoot a gun and later in the game turns into a ninja and smacks enemies with a quarterstaff. Far superior gameplay when compared to the SNES version. There is also a 1996 PC version which is an upgrade of the Genesis version. All tracks of Michael Giacchino's score were fully orchestrated by Steve Duckworth (instead of MIDI goodness) for the PC version, and it also has updated graphics and a few level enhancements (such as the straw plugs in Muddrake Mayhem).
MC.jpg McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure Platformer I know what you're thinking, but it's made by Treasure (coincidence?) and features pretty good level design. It's not game of the year, due to being short and a little generic, but at least Treasure made it well polished and did some creative things for a license game. You can obtain magic and power-ups and use your magic scarf to grapple onto hooks. Even in a different game and system, you will NEVER have enough golds...
MEGA TURRICAN.jpg Mega Turrican Platformer The same as Turrican 3, but this version is much better than the Amiga's. Either way, it's a fucking great game. Take Contra‘s style of weapons, add Metroid's atmosphere, give the player an aimable Bionic Commando wire, now top it all off with great gameplay from Factor 5 and an incredible soundtrack from the legendary Chris Hulsbeck, and you have Mega Turrican. If that doesn't have your mouth watering and make you want to play this, then you need to go see a doctor.
Mercs MD cover.jpg Mercs Shoot 'em up An American ex-president was kidnapped by rebels while visiting some African country, and since sending the military would open a diplomatic can of worms, the government hires a mercenary team to save him instead. A fun top-down shooter, ported from a Capcom arcade that is the sequel to Commando (hello NESfags). Now why play this rather than the arcade, which is included in Capcom Classics Collection? Because this specific version added the "Original" mode, a whole new campaign that's longer and more complex than the arcade. Two for the price of one! Pity it lacks the arcade's multiplayer, though.
Moonwalker.jpg Moonwalker Platformer A jamming sidescroller that has you take control of the King of Pop as he ventures out to save kidnapped children from Joe Pesci who always shows up to taunt you near the end of levels. Features hat tossing, magic fingers, and of course, the dance number desperation move (This takes up a good chunk of health, but each level set has a different dance). Plus, Michael Jackson can turn into a giant robot and wreck shit on screen. Also available on the Master System, which has a few minor differences, but the MD/Gen version is definitely the way to go. Note: The soundtrack is highly recommended. MJ's songs transition marvelously into the Sega sound. This game was notably made by the guys who went on to make the Shinobi games, which explains why it's so well made. Also, that 'ring' sound effect famous to Sonic actually debuted here.
Genesis MicroMachines96 FRONTboxart 160w.jpg Micro Machines (series) Racing Arcade racing with a top down view. It's all about little cars, tanks, etc. racing on tables, work-benches, beaches. There are, like, four of these games on the Genesis. Take any of them, they are all good.
Monsterworld4.jpg Monster World IV Platformer / Action-RPG Final title in the long-running Wonder Boy/Monster World series. You play a cute green-haired Arabian girl with her bird-critter companion as you explore lands, solve puzzles, and battle in various themed caverns and temples along with a central hub town. Lots of personality in the girl's animation and some lush, colorful locales. The twists in the story will make you cry.

Japan-only, there is a translation patch but it has some problems. Hunt down the ROM extracted from the Virtual Console release instead.

200px-M.U.S.H.A. Coverart.png M.U.S.H.A. Shoot 'em Up Another delicious shmup in Compile's Aleste line (known as Musha Aleste in Japan). In addition to killer gameplay, it has one of the best soundtracks on the Genesis as well as some pretty crisp graphics. Sadly, an actual cart will cost you a pretty penny, but at least you can make do with the 800 point price on Wii's VC. Seriously, this is one of those games you'd feel bad not to spend money on, no matter what the medium.
Mutant-league-football-cover.jpg Mutant League Football Sports Same as below, but football. Different rules apply as well (of course). There's also some different mutilation methods.
Mutant League Hockey.jpg Mutant League Hockey Sports Mutants and Leagues go together like video and games. If you thought HUMANS weren't entertaining enough, try this. You can play dirty, mutilate the other team as much as HUMANLY possible (although there's still 16-bit limits), and even score a goal! (PROTIP: Kill the goalie with a chainsaw to make scoring goals easier!)
Outrun.jpg Outrun Racing / Driving Sega's classic. A Ferrari, a beautiful woman, no speed limits - what's not to love? Choose music and start cruising! (Playing in an actual arcade maсhine is always preferable, but who can find one nowadays?)
Outrun 2019.jpg Outrun 2019 Racing A spin-off of the first Outrun, this time you race the futuristic streets of some city in 2019. Some really good music.
Panorama cotton.jpg Panorama Cotton Rail shooter Have you played Cotton? Yeah, this is like Cotton, but with SPACE HARRIER mixed in. Has the cool and beautiful music Cotton is known for, but the effects and visuals are stunning considering Genesis has no special FX chips or nothing like that. The action can also move pretty damn fast. It will cost you a fortune though, so emulate unless you're loaded. Japan only, but needs no translation since menus are in English.
Phantasy Star II.jpg Phantasy Star II RPG The first 16-bit Phantasy Star. A number of things have been removed or added since the original, but for the most part, everything has been improved. Although a bit old, it is an RPG with some strongly emotional scenes, which makes up for the difficulty. For a very early title, this game has some pretty impressive visuals. But try the modernization patch for a nicer, less brutal experience. And if you don't have the bundled hintbook, use these maps.
Phantasy Star III box US.jpg Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom RPG The "black sheep" of the Phantasy Star series. Several things here work unlike any other entry. One interesting aspect is that at end of the first two "generations" of heroes, you'll choose who to marry. This affects your child's stats and abilities, alters what adventures they go on, and adds replayability as well. Sadly, previous generations do NOT help their kids (due to plot restrictions), but your two robot pals are always ready to help any generation combo. An EASY MODO patch is available here and makes the experience much more accessible and enjoyable.
Phantasy Star EotM cover.jpg Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium RPG Quite possibly the largest Mega Drive/Genesis game made, Phantasy Star refined the franchise formula further, creating a more forgiving difficulty curve, adding macros and spell/skill combos, and a more enjoyable experience overall. Great story, characters, music, and comic/manga-style cut-scenes. Beware level 99 without a patch or cheat device to fix the bug. This team would later make Skies of Arcadia on Dreamcast, which is also great.
Phelios.jpg Phelios Shoot 'em up You are Apollo, God of the Sun, tasked with rescuing Artemis from the dark lord Typhon. Pegasus is your steed, and you have an upgradable sword of light that shoots lasers. Seven acts of moderate difficulty.
Pulseman MD.jpg Pulseman Platformer Also known as Seizures: The Game. Pulseman is fast like Sonic, but with some features like Megaman. While Pulseman can't get boss weapons, he can use all of his own cool electric powers from the get-go. Most of these rely on charging up static by running, or "swishing" (a quick nigh-invulnerable dash similar to Megaman's slide), and using stored up energy. Pulseman also hacks into trippy digital worlds. Short, but fun. Developed by Game Freak and is one of their few non Nintendo games. Also made before Pokemon blew up.

Japan-only, use the translation patch.

PunisherMD.PNG Punisher Beat 'em Up Great arcade port. You can play as Nick Fury or Frank Castle and shoot all bad guys on your way in their balls. Literally.
Quackshot.jpg Quackshot Platformer A really fun platformer starring Donald Duck. Donald finds a treasure map and goes searching for more clues to the treasure's whereabouts Indiana Jones style. The levels are varied and the gameplay is inventive. Donald has a gun which shoots plungers. He can shoot them at walls to use as steps, at enemies to stun them, or even at flying enemies which become moving platforms. Quite short, but really fun. If you're looking for an underrated gem on the Genesis, or are a Donald Duck fan, then pick this up as this is the best Donald Duck game there is. Had a sequel of sorts in World of Illusion.
Ranger-x.jpg Ranger-X Platformer / Shoot 'em Up Play as a transforming mech, blow shit up. This game is amazing, with extremely detailed backgrounds, cool wireframe cutscenes, and some other truly impressive effects. Be warned, the difficulty is absurd sometimes. Be sure to use the 6-button controller.
Red-Zone.jpg Red Zone Shooter THE MOST impressive and technologically advanced game on Genesis. It looks like the mix of Strike game and Sub-Terrania (which is not surprising, because it was done by the same guys). At the first glance gameplay is basic - you fly around, blowing up targets, picking up ammo, but actually the formula was improved in many ways: damage affects your helicopter - you can lose radar, ammunition and such. Also sometimes you complete missions on foot. And these sections was very well done too. You definitely should check out the intro - it will blow your mind.
1150190656-00.jpg Rings of Power RPG A very unique game for a console. Here we have a giant open world, nonlinear quests, hundreds of NPCs, tons of text and a good lore. Sometimes it's really hard to say what to do next. So if you want to beat this game you should obtain some walkthrough. But even if you end up wandering and exploring Ushka Bau you still will have a good time. (Framerate and sound are pretty limited though). Notorious for having a code that showed boobs at the start of the game.
RistarGenesis.jpg Ristar Platformer Ristar uses his stretchy arms to swing, climb, swim, lift and throw his way through stages. They are also used to tackle and rocket at enemies and bosses. Features very surreal stages, amazing music and fucking gorgeous pixel art. Despite being simple, the game is a bit tough, yet manages to be quite creative with its level design as well, making for quite the experience. Feels similar to Sonic (in a good way), and that's no coincidence, it was made by Sonic Team. Ristar was overlooked by many because it released right at the end of the Genesis/Megadrive's life, but it is definitely one of the best and most creative games on the system. If you're a fan of the old Sonic games, creative platformers, or just a fan of good games in general, then definitely give this a try.'10/10 Would play'

(Also available for download on Steam and pretty much every modern console, but looks best on a CRT TV like all Genesis games)

Road Rash Gen.jpg Road Rash (series) Racing Racing on a bike, smacking people in the face and rocking out to nice music. These games are all about it. There are three titles, they are all the same in terms of gameplay, but bike- and track-wise they are completely different. Play any of them, or all of them, you won't regret it. PRO TIP:Get the chain (club in 2) for MASSIVE DAMAGE!
Rocket Knight Adventures.jpg Rocket Knight Adventures Action / Platformer / Shoot 'em Up A fun platformer with lots of speedy platforming, but lots of action as well. You play as Sparkster, an opossum knight with a sword (that shoots laser waves) and a jetpack to fly around with. Awesome. He was meant to be Konami's "animals with 'tude" mascot of the 90's, but unlike all those hacks (except Sonic of course), he wasn't a stupid asshole, and his game was actually brilliant (although the mind behind Contra always helps). Most stages are action/platforming, but it has a few shmup sequences too. A must have Genesis classic!
Robocop versus Terminator cover.jpg Robocop vs Terminator Action What if we combine two most iconic characters of 80's in one game? We get the game that kicks ass! Gore, lots of enemies, nice visual style, tough boss fights, you have it all here. Sad part is that you won't be able to play as the Terminator, but being best cop in Detroit is still cool. Another great game by David Perry. Only one downside is music - main theme gets annoying too fast. Also on the SNES, but its a completely different game.
Rolo to the Rescue cover.jpg Rolo to the Rescue Platformer A circus ringmaster has trapped some animals. It's up to Rolo to rescue them. After being rescued, the animals will follow Rolo and will act as playable characters, the player will need to use the talents of each animal to help Rolo get to other cages and the end of each level. A bit like Lost Vikings and Shantae, it's long and can be a challenge to find everything.
Darius2.png Sagaia /
Darius II
Shoot 'em Up I've always wanted a thing called tuna sashimi! The Genesis has always been blessed with awesome arcade ports and this is no exception. It may lose the wow factor thanks to being greatly downscaled from the arcade's triple/dual monitor setup, but some of the new levels are more than good enough to make up for that. However, you may want to turn up the difficulty level as it is quite easy on Normal.
1140259844-00.jpg Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi Platformer Came out after Revenge below but isn't a direct sequel. Game mechanics are more like the original arcade game, as you're out to save hostages and you can only take one hit, so beware! Don't worry, in addition to your ninja magic, blade, and shurikens, you have a new weapon - your trusty dog! Sick him on your enemies to set up easy kills and rescues. Fun Fact: In the Japanese version you're the biological son of Joe Musashi, while in the English localization you ARE Joe Musashi. Look at that badass dog.
62290 shadowrun.jpg Shadowrun Action / RPG Another game with this weird 'Aladdin' effect. But gameplay of the Sega version of Shadowrun is VERY different from the SNES version. Anyway, it's a sandbox action RPG on the Genesis. You can hack cyberspace, you can be shaman, and more importantly you can just kill people on the street. There's a big city populated with a decent number of henchmen to aid you, and a myriad of interesting quests. It's generally considered the closest video game adaptation of the Pen and Paper Shadowrun RPG to date. So go and give it a try. RIGHT NOW.
Shining force gen.jpg Shining Force TRPG Arguably, Sega's answer to Fire Emblem. Both have units with different stats, classes, abilities, and promotions. However, Shining Force has out-of-battle exploration of towns and battlefields to stock up and meet new allies, instead of everything done mid-battle. This has harder odds at times, but is more forgiving as there's no perma-death. The Shining series has great music, decent visuals, and a unique flair that's been spun-off into other games and genres under the its name. This also had a vastly improved remake on the Game Boy Advance.
Shining force II gen.jpg Shining Force II TRPG This is even longer than the first! Exploration has a stronger role with some more freedom. Some classes have alternate promotion options as well. The soundtrack variety is not as strong as the first, and some of the more chatty characters are a little annoying, but the gameplay is much improved, including the difficulty. Not to mention the visuals are vastly superior to the previous games and are some of the best on the whole system. This later had a Game Gear prequel, Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict, that ties some loose ends between this and SF1 (and hints at Shining in the Darkness). Shining Force III is on Sega Saturn.
Images (3).jpg Shining in the Darkness RPG Dungeon crawler that started 'Shining' franchise. Visuals really aren't the series best, though they display the well-known whimsical fantasy in character and monster designs. Not so hard for a crawler, but the mazes are somehow complicated, challenging, and have a number of secrets to find. Has some really cool music as well, though the normal battle theme can get annoying. A spiritual sequel/spinoff, Shining the Holy Ark was released on Sega Saturn and is also pretty good.
Shinobi III - Return of the Ninja Master Coverart.png Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master Platformer If you thought Joe couldn't get more pimp, you thought wrong. He's back and decked out with even MORE skills and even cooler and crazier levels, including horseback asskicking and a surfing level that would make Snake Plissken proud. Some prefer the slower pace of Revenge, with Yuzo's music, but this is good if you want a fresh blast of a ninja kicking ass.
Skeleton Krew MD cover.jpg Skeleton Krew Shooter It is 2062, Moribund Kadaver wants to take over the world, and a team of corpse-themed bio-mechanical mercenaries must go through MonstroCity and mow down his army of cryogenic mutants. Yeah, that was supposed to sound edgy. But the game is a really good (if somewhat short) isometric shooter, with some fantastic sprite work and a fitting industrial soundtrack. Also on Amiga and CD32, but these versions were seriously butchered.
Snow Bros gen.jpg Snow Bros Platformer Oddly, it's even more expensive than the NES Snow Bros. Graphics and sound are very accurate to arcade. You throw snowballs at your enemies, turn them into cool bowling balls, and try to get a "Strike" in every level by steamrolling every foe. It's quite similar to Bubble Bobble, and arguably better. This is the best version due to extra levels, exclusive cutscenes, and the ability to play as the princesses.
Socket Gen cover.jpg Socket Platformer This little-known gem has been vilified as a Sonic ripoff. Which is kind of true, but who cares? It also happens to be a solid, very fun, and fine-looking mascot platformer, definitely worth playing. Each level is divided in three areas: "high speed" (designed to rush through), "athletic" (with emphasis on careful platforming), and "labyrinth" (for exploring). And as the name implies, Socket's thing is electricity; his health bar keeps decreasing and you have to constantly refill it by picking up little lightning items.
Sol-Deace MD cover.jpg Sol-Deace Shooter A very fun, fast-paced, and criminally underrated space shooter. The plot is the same old: mankind builds computer, computer goes crazy and becomes brutal interplanetary dictator, lone space pilot goes against computer. Anyway, the spaceship has weapons that you can aim separately, which is pretty cool. Some neato physics tricks too, you shoot debris and they move accordingly. Very sweet graphics too. But the best part is the pumping soundtrack by Motoi Sakuraba (who did most of the Tales series). Also released for the X68000 and the Mega CD as Sol-Feace, with cutscenes you won't see here.
Sonic 1.jpg Sonic the Hedgehog Platformer Awesome, fast platforming. Classic Sonic. A bit slower than later games, but also concentrates on solid level design versus "gotta go fast". Re-released on nearly every console since the Saturn. The Game Gear/Master System games of the Sonic series that share the same names are different games, but also good.

Tip: as the Japanese version came out later, they took the time to add some subtle graphics improvements (such as extra bg layers and water warp effects). So, if you can choose, get that instead of the USA version.

Sonic2-cover.jpg Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Platformer Added the spin dash and became slightly faster. The best of the 2D Sonic games in most opinions. Has some of the best level design in Sonic history. Adds a second player, Tails, for co-op and competitive multiplayer. If you're into rom-hacking, there's a number of hacks for this. There's also hacks that restore the unfinished levels still left in the game, such as Wood Zone and "Genocide City" Zone. The "prequel" to this game is Sonic CD, which has more in common with the original Sonic. Was remixed with some music, level, and boss redesigns in Sonic Pocket Adventure on the Neo Geo Pocket color.
Sonic3 cover.jpg Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Platformer Sonic and Tails return with new moves. Sonic can utilize different powers from the new elemental shields and Tails can now manually fly in air and swim in water. The debut of Knuckles and, when combined with Sonic & Knuckles, the pinnacle of the series. Features the hardest level select code ever. Protip: For a certain platform in Carnival Night Zone, up and down on the D-pad can save your life. Curiously, a few songs in 3 change when the S+K lock-on is used!
Sonic and Knuckles.jpg Sonic & Knuckles Platformer Combines with Sonic 3 to make one of the best platformers ever. A good game in its own right, though. Tails is not included unless combined with 3. Can also be combined with the original Sonic and Sonic 2, the latter of which adds Knuckles into the game. The former unlocks a huge extended Blue Sphere mode. Certain levels in 3 and S&K have alternate routes when played with as Knuckles, as he can glide, climb on walls, and break certain walls, all at the cost of less speed and jump height (the last point being very important for Sonic 2 and some parts of 3).
-sonic-spinball-cover.jpg Sonic Spinball Pinball Honestly fun kind of game. The concept of sonic being in a pinball game seems rather obvious because he's in a fucking ball all of the god-damned time. Some of the on-foot sections feel a bit weird, but for the most part, the game is hella fun, if slightly creepy at times. It's also pretty fast-paced, so keep your eyes peeled, less you knock Sonic into a pool of toxic goo. Ported to various collections. Feels like it deserves an arcade port honestly. CLUCK ALERT! Has an alternate SMS/GG variant, which isn't quite as good as this, but has alternate level designs that may warrant checking out if you're a fan.
Sparkster genesis.jpg Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2 Action / Platformer / Shoot 'em Up The sequel to Rocket Knight Adventures, Sparkster got a wild new hairdo and is ready to come back and kick some ass. Everything great about the first is here, but has been improved. Level designs are more extravagant, the graphics are better, and the jetpack is much more accessible. A must-have sequel to a must-have Genesis classic. Sparkster has the Aladdin syndrome: there's two games on opposite consoles with the same name and cover art, but are two different titles (aka go look up Sparkster in the SNES section). Both are different, great games, so get em' both! There's a spiritual sequel released on XBLA/PSN, but is a bit different.
Spider Man vs The Kingpin MD cover.jpg Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin Action / Platformer

The Kingpin has convinced everyone that Spider-Man planted a bomb that will destroy New York in 24 hours. This must be the first time a game got the character right, with web-swinging and wall-climbing that feel on point. A cool feature is the camera: to refill the web fluid, you take photos of the villains and sell them to the Daily Bugle. And to regain energy, you rest in Spidey's apartment, but mind the time limit. There's also a Mega CD version that adds animated cutscenes and new stages.

Not to be confused with the later Spider-Man by Acclaim based on the animated series, which is nowhere near as good.

Splatterhouse2boxart.jpg Splatterhouse 2 Beat 'em Up The gory, horror themed beat 'em up is back! Rick has to go back to the haunted house to beat the shit out of more ghosts, zombies, and aliens in the most gruesome manner to save his girlfriend. Fuck yeah!
Splatterhouse3-box.jpg Splatterhouse 3 Beat 'em Up The third and final chapter in the original Splatterhouse saga. Rick and Jen got married and had a kid, but the damn cursed mask draws Rick back to the house. Is a more traditional beat 'em up compared to the previous Splatterhouse games. Also has some disturbing as hell endings. NTSC only. Sorry Eurobros.
Star Cruiser Mega Drive cover.png Star Cruiser RPG An RPG / FPS / simulator with a science fiction theme, ported from the PC-88. In the 27th century, humans and aliens live in peace, but a powerful militaristic faction wants to overthrow the government, take over the galaxy, and expel the aliens. Some good 3D graphics.

Japan-only, use the translation patch.

586488 39041 front.jpg Star Trek: The Next Generation:
Echoes From The Past
Adventure Being a kid in the mid-90's who watched the original run of TNG this was a must have game. Just look at that goddamn box art, how badass is that? You kinda play this headless entity who commands the crew of the Enterprise. The bulk of the action occurs on away missions, which consists of sending members of the main crew or redshirts down to planets to solve puzzles or phaser shit. You can also fly the enterprise from destination to destination and have random encounters with enemy ships. The game has a lot of interesting filler, like being able to access the computer and learn about the universe, and you can travel to hundreds of stars and scan stuff. This game is also on the SNES but slightly different as it was made by another company. There's also a PC version which is entirely different.
Empire of Steel.jpg Steel Empire / Empire of Steel Shoot 'em Up Also known as Empire of Steel in other parts of the world. Steel Empire is a steampunk-themed horizontal shooter. The player can choose to pilot one of two aircraft for each mission: The biplane (fast, fragile and better at destroying ground targets) or the zeppelin (slow, high health, better at air-to-air attacks). The gameplay is fairly standard shmup stuff for the most part except for the ability to fire behind as well as infront, but where Steel Empire really shines is it's unique steampunk aesthetics that made this game pretty much the only steampunk shmup until Progear for the CPS2 arcade board (2001) and Jamestown nearly two decades later.
Streetsofrage.jpg Streets of Rage Beat 'em Up The Streets of Rage series may not be the first, but it is one of the best. Each entry has a choice of characters, each with unique stats. Not to mention each one has Yuzo Koshiro working on music. The first entry is a bit basic, but it manages to provide a solid foundation. There's not too many skills to use, but it does let you call for bazooka support from the local police.
Streets-of-Rage-2.png Streets of Rage 2 Beat 'em Up Arguably the best of the three entries. Features new moves, two new characters, better visuals, better tunes, better control, better enemies, better bosses, etc. This is one game for Sega's 16-bit baby that you don't want to miss. As you can guess, having multiplayer is a huge plus and provides large quantities of high quality fun.
Streets of Rage 3 boxart.jpg Streets of Rage 3 Beat 'em Up The gameplay of this entry is a bit different from previous entries, and for the most part, it's a bit more refined. However, many players will agree that it just lacks the magic that made SoR2 so exemplary. You'll have to play it to see what they mean. Whether it's the music, the new characters, and/or anything else that feels off is up to you. (Some people argue that this is due to the fact that the player's attacks lack priority, essentially making you feel helpless against the enemies)

The American version was so butchered (censored babes, increased difficulty, a different plot) that Diehard Gamefan called it "neutered" and advised readers to import or avoid altogether. Well, now we can do better: there is a fan-made translation patch for the Japanese ROM.

Strider box us.jpg Strider Action / Platformer An arcade port done right. You are a futuristic ninja destroying commie forces led by an alien overlord. The main hero has cool hair and a big laser sword plasma tonfa that slices communist scum like a knife goes through bread, so you have no excuse not to play this game. 8MEGA MEMORY!
Subterraniaie5.jpg Sub-Terrania Shoot 'em Up What? A shmup which plays like an adventure? And has a decent storyline? Sign me up! This game is for those who tired to be l33t MEGA SUPER STAR DESTROYER. So you are a pilot of a prototype space ship and your mission is to counter attack aliens on a little planet far away from Earth. Controls are somewhat unusual but if you play for a bit you'll grow used to them. Every level has a briefing so you will know what to do. This is an undiscovered gem and you should try it. The team also made Red Zone, a game that pushed the Mega Drive to it's limits and beyond! The team would later form IO Interactive, the guys behind Hitman.
Super fantasy zone.jpg Super Fantasy Zone Shoot 'em Up Fantasy Zone sequel that stays true to the series roots. Shake your bones to the happy tropical rhythms. Features colorful graphics, buying loads of power-ups, and the classic cheap one-hit-kill deaths. Released in Japan & Europe only.
SHang-on.jpg Super Hang-On Racing Another cult classic from the arcade. It's all basic - you should race the timer on a motorcycle. Also there is new mode - "original" mode, it's kind of career, but don't bother, racing in arcade mode is much more fun.
Sylvester & Tweety (cover).jpg Sylvester and Tweety in Cagey Capers Platformer A really good platformer based on Looney Tunes characters. Visuals and sound are very close to cartoon which is very impressive. Your main objective in this game is to capture Tweety from level to level. You can use your items buy pressing start and cycling needed item to Sylvester. Controls have slight inertion but you'll get used to it soon.
563347 45484 front.jpg Taz In Escape From Mars Platformer Pretty good Taz game that has generally good gameplay as well as some great levels, bosses, and the such. You can basically use Taz's spin to bounce across walls spinning like a motherfucker getting to different areas as well as attacking enemies. There are other Taz games, but they're not that good honestly.
TMNTsega.png Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist Beat 'em Up Yes, it's not an arcade port as TMNT IV on SNES, but it's something better - it's a half remix of arcade titles/ half complete new game about ninja turtles. This game features new levels, new bosses, more enemies on the screen and smarter AI. Add faster gameplay and more challenging fights than on snes and we have here a solid beat'em up. If you want more of the TMNT or just want to play a good game you should try it. Have fun kicking shredder ass with your buddy.
Tetris MD cover.jpg Tetris Puzzle This is Tetris, you know what it is. But you've probably never played this version, as it may be the rarest MD game of all! Why? Sega had made a Tetris arcade, so they thought they could make a console version, but found too late that Nintendo had the exclusive console license. Sounds familiar? Well, unlike the Tengen version on the NES, this one got recalled before it got to the market. Only a dozen copies survived, and even bootlegs are uncommon. Good thing you can just emulate it.

Was re-ported from the arcade original for the Sega Genesis Mini.

1099575-br.jpg The Adventures of Batman & Robin Run 'n Gun Based on the animated series, this is a very fun and fast-paced game which is also fucking CONTRA-HARD. Play alone as Batman or Robin or go co-op with a bro to take on a number of the show's iconic villains. The more you play, the more crazy and hard it gets, and the soundtrack only adds more to the atmosphere.

There's also a SNES version made by Konami in the style of a beat 'em up. It's also a good game, but like Aladdin and Sparkster in the sense that it's VERY different from the Genesis version.

A version exists on the Sega CD, made by the same folks as the Genesis version, but it's pretty much garbage. All Driving Stages, like the Batman Returns Sega CD port.

Lion king.jpg The Lion King Platformer Based on the movie with artwork done by Westwood and Disney studios. Great visuals and music for the Genesis. First levels are for the little Simba, but then you play as the grown up lion Simba. Very challenging and touching game. Also on SNES with worse music and worse graphics. Has notoriously tough level design, especially the second stage. Impossible as fuck without all the hidden health upgrades.
Lost-vikings-cover-thumb.jpg The Lost Vikings Platformer Here you control three vikings taking turns. Each has his own abilities, which you must use at the right times to get through the stages. Also on Super Nintendo, GBA and possible others. Blizzard's best game after Rock'n Roll Racing. The Mega Drive/Genesis version contains five stages not present in any other version of the game.
Lostworld-gen.jpg The Lost World: Jurassic Park Action / Adventure In a complete different style of gameplay than other JP games, you explore Isla Sorna in an isometric view as a nameless mercenary capturing dinosaurs and completing varied missions like collecting velociraptor eggs or bombing rival mercs. Tense exploration, as dinosaurs and other mercs can ambush you suddenly from any direction. Capture dinosaurs alive with tranquilizer darts to receive supplies from the HQ. Kickass boss battles at the end of each of the 4 acts. Great fun on co-op, with the possibility of enabling friendly fire just for kicks.
1196899743-00.jpg The Pirates of the Dark Water Action / Platformer Based on the 90's cartoon, Sunsoft gave it the star treatment. You are a prince, your dad died, you find a flying ape, an exotic port gal and an old pirate to save your planet from the dark water. Hack 'n slash bad guys using all of your characters, which you can swap them in the middle of the action. Very good visuals, great soundtrack, and a good plot that actually gets you to the end of the series (even the show itself got canceled before then.)

Not to be confused with the SNES version, which like many SNES ports is just another shitty Final Fight knockoff.

Stimpy's Invention.jpg The Ren & Stimpy Show Presents: Stimpy's Invention Platformer Ren and Stimpy need to make an invention together, and they traverse across the motherfucking world to get the parts. Art done by Doug Tenaple of Earthworm Jim fame, as well as some classic Ren and Stimpy humor and good platforming as well. If you're a fan of the show, this is fairly loyal to it in terms of outlandishness. Ren can use Stimpy for various techniques, such as attacking in different ways (like launching Stimpy as a bowling ball), super-jumps, and jack-hammering through certain floors.
Revenge of shinobi front.jpg The Revenge of Shinobi Platformer A 16-bit sequel to the arcade/Master System classic. Joe Musashi is back with more moves, more ninja magic, and more enemies. Departs from the original in that it is more straight forward with only Joe's girlfriend being the only hostage you have to save. Unfortunately, Joe's got some tough competition: enemy ninjas, disco dancers, a brain in a tank guarded by lasers, ninja nuns, a kabuki master, and (depending on the version you play) Batman, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Terminator and Godzilla.
Thunder Force III cover.jpg Thunder Force III Shoot 'em Up Thunder Force is Technosoft's amazing horizontal shmup series. Features multiple upgradable weapons which you can switch on the fly, options that have multiple settings, lush and colorful stages, wonderful soundtracks filled with that Technosoft flair. The stages are filled with enemies and enemy fire and the bosses will beat you down. Really nice use of the Genesis' sound chip.
Thunder Force IV.jpg Thunder Force IV / Lightening Force Shoot 'em Up This is possibly the hardest, grandest Thunder Force of the 16-bit games. You choose your stage order (unlike 3, where you just chose the first stage), and every stage is gorgeous, filled with enemies, and absolutely colossal. This follows the usual weapon system, but you also get a powerful laser cannon later on. It made the sound chip do some naughty, sexy things.
Tiny toons-buster front super.jpg Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure Platformer Very well done platformer by Konami, so you know it was in good hands. One of the better looking games for the Genesis, and it's Tiny Toons!
Toejam and earl.jpeg Toejam & Earl Action-adventure Travel through a twisted version of earth in order to repair your broken space ship and find your way home. Has a number of roguelike features, such as the option to play with randomly generated items and levels, but is not really an RPG. Features two-player co-op. Earl is a Weiner.
TJ&E PoF cover.jpg Toejam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron Platformer A bit more streamlined than the original as you're now restricted to a more platformer-esque planes of movement and stages are more set in stone. The action is faster and controls better to make up for this.Your purpose now is to capture earthlings stowaways from the first game. Do this by throwing jars at them. Also features a hard item hunt for the true ending. Features Co-op just like the first game. The third game was released on Xbox (Which is a censored version of the canned Dreamcast original). You'll want to avoid that game though.
Toki MD Cover.jpg Toki: Going Ape Spit Platformer A remake of the Arcade classic. This one is faster and harder than the original, but no less fun. Jump and spit fireballs and collect different powerups that gives you new temporary abilities.
True Lies Coverart.png True Lies Run 'n Gun Based on the movie, this is a top down shooter with Arnold Schwarzenegger. This game actually follows plot of the movie. Roll around, kill everyone with uzi. And you can use landmines and flamethrower too! And try not to kill civilians or it would lead to a mission failure. There's no erotic dancing though.
Truxton-genesis.jpg Truxton Shoot 'em Up One of the earliest games on the Genesis and also one of the best. Immensely difficult, known to make even those hardcore bullet hell fanatics cry. (Though thankfully, this version just so happens to be the easiest compared to the arcade/TG-16 ones.) If you've ever played and enjoyed Raiden, pay your respects to the game that inspired the series. You'll even see a prototype of the toothpaste laser!
Twinkletale.jpg Twinkle Tale Run 'n Gun One of the most gorgeous and underrated titles on the Genesis. Just look at that cover art, that little witch wants no trouble. Despite her size she just SPRINTS through those nine vibrantly detailed levels, exploring tons of branching paths and side rooms with goodies to collect. Bomb pick-ups just rain from the goddamn sky, so you'd do well to exhaust your stock on each challenging midboss and boss. It can get hard but you're more than equipped to take on the enemy hordes.

Japan-only, use the translation patch.

Urban-Strike.jpg Urban Strike Shooter And again only one chopper can save the whole world. Now there are even more action and more enemies to kill! Sometimes you play even on foot, but some levels are not as good as in Jungle Strike. The last really good one, two PS1 titles are just mediocre in every way. Stick with genesis version and you should be fine, soldier.
Valis3 MD Cover.jpg Valis III Platformer A port of the PC Engine version, but arguably better, as it reworks some details to make for a better experience overall.
Vapor Trail MD cover.png Vapor Trail Shmup Terrorists have hacked into every military's defenses and taken control of the world's nuclear arsenal. A very enjoyable, excellently ported arcade shooter. Nice graphics and a rockin' soundtrack.
Box-vectorman.jpg Vectorman Platformer / Run 'n Gun You are a pile of balls who shoots energy balls at robots. Freakin' sweet. Also, some morph power-ups to change shape into different forms.
Vectorman 2.jpg Vectorman 2 Platformer / Run 'n Gun Same as above. Can't get enough balls! Has some neat morphs as well.
Virtua Racing Genesis box art.jpg Virtua Racing Racing Some of the best 3D ever squeezed out of any 4th-gen console. Amazingly faithful to the arcade, thanks to the extra processor built in the cartridge. Now, while it is technically the weakest port (it also came on 32X, Saturn, and PS2), it remains a very solid game.
Warsong Coverart.png Warsong TRPG The first in the Langrisser series. Great tactics game, with deep gameplay, epic battles, and lots of unit-types. Mechanics are based around commanders and their armies, like a fusion of Fire Emblem and Famicon Wars. Commanders are stronger and level up, but your grunts are generic fodder, meant for protection (they get slight buffs when near their commanders) and taking out other grunts. It's kinda basic in story and dialog, but great in terms of strategy and colossal battlefields filled with troops. Hidden gem as the series wasn't otherwise released in US and Europe. The sequel, Langrisser Hikari/Der Langrisser, blows this away. Inspired The Battle for Wesnoth.
Wings of Wor MD Cover.jpg Wings of Wor / Gynoug Shoot 'em Up Cool shmup where you control a winged guy and shoot down all sorts of freakish creatures. It is very reminiscent of Cho Aniki, since it was made by the same creators.
Wonderboyinmonsterworld.jpg Wonder Boy in Monster World Action-adventure Fairly forgotten title from the earlier days of the Genesis/Mega Drive. Sequel to the SMS/GG game, Wonder Boy III: Dragon's Trap (which you should play first), this game has charming colorful graphics and solid gameplay with upgradable armor and weapons; not to mention various helpful AI-allies along the way. Quite a few secrets can be found, and some of the boss-fights are off the hook. Monster World IV is the sequel to this. Had an alternate variation on Turbo CD known as "The Dynastic Hero".
World Of Illusion box art.jpg World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck Platformer How unusual, a single sequel to two different games: Castle of Illusion and QuackShot (the Japanese titles made clear that they were all part of a series). When playing solo, Mickey or Donald play the levels in different order, with altered layouts. When playing together, both players must cooperate in order to get past certain obstacles. The levels are massive, the graphics and sounds are stunning, and the gameplay is tight!
X-men2.jpg X-Men 2 - Clone Wars Action / Beat 'em Up It's one of this visual gorgeous games that came out in 1995, when the death of Mega Drive was near. It pains me to think that not so many gamers saw this beauty. It's so long, so hard, so stunning, it's one of the best X-men games out there. There are 6 heroes to command, each of them has unique skills (pick Wolverine, Gambit or Cyclops for the win). Has a very unique "cold start": the first level starts as soon as you turn on the console, and the title screen only appears after you beat that. Excellent soundtrack by Information Society's Kurt Harland.
Yu Yu Hakusho MD cover JP.png Yū Yū Hakusho: Makyō Tōitsusen / Sunset Fighters Fighting Based on one of the biggest animu hits of the early 90s. A hot-blooded guy dies saving a child's life, so afterlife's management sends him back to kick ass and protect the human world from demons! (Watch it here.)

The game has a multi-plane system a la Fatal Fury, but the gameplay is simpler, which makes it easy to pick up. Treasure's technical prowess is at work here, with up to four players at once, excellent sprite animation, scaling effects, and nicely detailed backgrounds. They later reused some elements of this design on Guardian Heroes for the Saturn and their Bleach fightans for the DS. One of the better licensed games for the MD, but it is a rare import game (either the Japanese or the Brazilian versions) if you are looking to add it to your collection.

Use the translation patch.

Zero Tolerance.jpg Zero Tolerance FPS An FPS, on the Genesis? Yes, there are a few, and Zero Tolerance is probably the best one. And it's an exclusive to the system. This game has an amount of depth that surpasses even some recent games of the genre: vast and complex maps, non-linear progression, and unique non-combat items. This is also one and only game for the system that allows to connect two consoles via special link cable (using the second joypad ports) to play multiplayer mode. The cable was originally supposed to be shipped as a pack-in with the game but in the end it was sold separately. Unfortunately it's now difficult to find so the best solution is to build it yourself. Sequel Beyond Zero Tolerance was planned but never finished, you can download beta version for free from developers page.
Zero Wing.jpg Zero Wing Shoot 'em Up A pretty good shoot 'em up with kick ass music which spawned one of the most well known memes and spawned a few more memes on it's Engrish opening alone. Unfortunately, very overlooked and not that much remembered except for it's memes. Still worth a look, go ahead and laugh at the meme spawning Engrish opening.

Videos & copypasta[]

Fourth Generation
Consoles Philips CD-i - Commodore CDTV - Pioneer LaserActive - Sega Mega Drive - SNK Neo Geo - Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Funtech Super A'Can - NEC TurboGrafx-16
Handhelds Bit Corporation Gamate - Nintendo Game Boy - Sega Game Gear - Hartung Game Master - Atari Lynx - Welback Mega Duck - Watara Supervision
Computers Commodore Amiga - Atari ST - BeOS - Fujitsu FM Towns - Sharp X68000