Known as Sega CD in the US, this was not just a CD drive for the Mega Drive: it added a faster CPU, new graphics and audio processors, and more RAM. All this power was mostly wasted on hilariously cheesy FMV "games"; nonetheless, this system had a good number of quality games. It could also be combined with the 32X to form a behemoth of a system for which only six (terrible) games were made.
There's two models of the system. The Model 1, with a mechanical tray for the CD drive. And the Model 2, with a popup lid. The Model 1 was built around being used with a Model 1 Mega Drive and likewise for the Model 2. You can use either system model (or the SG Mega) with either Mega CD, but the Model 2 looks small on top the Model 1 Mega CD. The Model 1 Mega Drive does require a plastic extender to "properly" fit on the Model 1 Mega CD. Model 2s do have a tendency to last longer since there's no mechanical tray to load and eject each game. Regardless, both are identical in performance.
PROTIP: as the Mega-CD was released long before CD burners became popular, it has no copy protection system. Still, the games are region-locked, and it takes modding or a special cart / Flashcart to bypass that.
The Mega CD List
|Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin (The)||Action||Original Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin on Genesis is a pretty solid game, but this is even better. Because cd version features several improvements like animated scenes, two new levels, extra combat moves, the ability to collect reproductions of Spider-Man comic books issues, and an original musical score. And the gameplay became less linear, cause you can travel around the city collecting clues. If you can't get this game but kinda curious you can always get Genesis version.|
|Android Assault||Shoot'em Up|
|Dark Wizard||RPG||A tactical RPG that has a few resemblances to Fire Emblem.|
|Earthworm Jim Special Edition||Platformer||A groovy rearrangement of the original Jim. Features extra levels, rearranged audio, passwords, spoken endings, and of course, some better animation here and there.
The CD versions have the 'What are Worms' ending if you beat the game on Practice, which is hilarious as hell.
|Ecco the Dolphin||Action-Adventure||Play as a fucking dolphin while doing flips and shit. Save your Dolphins friends from aliens or something. Fucking great game. Port of the Genesis version, with nicer music, and one or two more levels. The sequel is also on MCD with the same extras (CD quality music, extra level or two).|
|Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side||Fighting||A highly amusing fighting game in the vein of Mortal Kombat. This game ups the ante as much as it possibly could back then. Plays pretty well. Better than the Mega Drive version anyway. Since it's on the Mega CD is has some BADASS MUSIC!|
|Final Fight CD||Beat 'em Up||One of the best arcade beat 'em ups in one of its finest ports. This version includes a (badly) voiced intro, a survival mode and remixed music by the same guy who did the music for "Lords of Thunder". This kicks the SNES ass simply due to the fact that it has both Guy and Cody & additional enemies on screen at the same time. The US version is slightly toned down (Jessica has clothes on instead just her underwear, Poison and Roxy's outfits are less skimpy). So get the Japanese version if these things bug you.|
|Heart of the Alien||Adventure / Platformer||Contains Out Of This World (originally Another World) and its sequel (Heart of the Alien). The first game was already proven classic, being one of the earliest cinematic platformers, and this CD port is pretty good, but the real highlight of this disc is the inclusion of its rare sequel, which was never ported to another platform. It's worth noting that Eric Chahi, creator of the Out of This World, had minimal involvement in the sequel.|
|Keio Flying Squadron||Shoot 'em Up||A humorous horizontal cute 'em up, in the style of Parodius, but plays a bit differently. Most of your enemies and bosses don't make a lot of sense, and it's best that you don't think too hard about it. However, despite the cuteness and charm, it's actually a bit hard. There was a sequel on Saturn but it is a platformer insted of a shooter. It's still good though.|
|Lords of Thunder||Shoot 'Em Up||The most metal horizontal shmup ever. You play as Landis, a god-knight who tears through monsters with the powers of his elemental armor (your choice out of 4) . In addition, he can slice and dice up close with his mighty blade (this does more damage than you might think, especially on the Sega CD version). Incredible graphics mean you have some seriously detailed beasts to fight, great gameplay and controls mean you won't ever get bored, and a killer soundtrack means you won't stop rockin'.|
|Lunar: The Silver Star||RPG||This version of Lunar is extremely different from its remakes. It features story events and music not seen elsewhere. However, it was quite revolutionary for its time, with its great story and characters with real personalities and desires. Worth a shot, even if you've played the remakes.|
|Lunar 2: Eternal Blue||RPG||This version is only slightly different from its remakes. Honestly, the remakes have changes done for the better. Unfortunately, they're expensive and rare as hell now. This is an entirely acceptable alternative. It looks great, sounds great, and plays more like conventional Lunar games. It also has great characters and music, just like the first.|
|Mansion Of Hidden Souls (NTSC-U) /
Yumemi Mystery Mansion (PAL)
|Adventure||If you are familiar with the Saturn/PS1 game D, it owes a lot to this game. Mansion Of Hidden Souls is a first person adventure game. It is very basic in concept and rather short, but its strongest point is its atmosphere. It was also the first of its kind and a forgotten influential game.|
|Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse||Platformer||The best version of Mickey Mania there is, which itself is a solid platformer that romps through different ages of Mickey cartoons and adventures, giving one hell of a nostalgia trip. If you can't can't get your hands on this version, either go for the core Genesis version (missing a few extras) or the retitled European Playstation version (Mickey's Wild Adventure). The Playstation version has some issues though, and the SNES version is gimped. Annoying loading times but not as bad as the SNES version (Yes, the SNES's carts are slower than the cd!).|
|Mortal Kombat||Fighting||Probably the best comtempoary port of the game, next to the DOS port. You'd think this would be a lazy port with some CD audio thrown on top. But its not. Probe went out of their way to top their work on the Genesis version. The CD audio is directly from the Arcade version. Includes more frames of animation and most of the sound effects (some were missing on the Genesis port). Also include blood without the code.
On the down side, the games does have to load between rounds and the Shang Tsung at the end is butchered due to all the loading when he transformers, but still an amazing port of the first game.
|Popful Mail||Platformer / RPG||A very nice Platformer with minor RPG elements. Features great music and gameplay. This is more or less the best version to play for gameplay factors and thanks to Working Designs: amusing characters are more amusing and the not-very-serious story just got less serious.
If you like Slayers, you might notice a few resemblances here and there, but it's all for the best
|Rise of the Dragon||Adventure||A traditionally witty and misanthropic Cyberpunk point & click adventure. An adult game worthy of being played. You can also play it on a PC, but the Mega-CD version is good enough.|
|Robo Aleste||Shoot 'em Up||All the Aleste action you've come to love from Compile, now on the Sega CD. There's also a story within the gameplay, but it isn't too important.|
|Secret of Monkey Island, The||Adventure||One of the best point 'n click adventure games ever made ever gets a damn fine home console port.|
|Sega Classics Arcade Collection 5-in-1||Collection||The 6-Pak on Genesis makes this kinda obsolete, so this is more of a curiosity than anything. Still, if you're building a collection for Sega/Mega CD games you would probably want this among them. It is better than having all of these games separately if you're prioritizing function over form. Contains Columns, Golden Axe, Revenge of Shinobi 1.02 (no Batman or Godzilla), Streets of Rage, and Super Monaco GP. While Golden Axe has a CD-arranged soundtrack, it only allows for 1 player.|
|Shining Force CD||SRPG||A great package that contains enhanced ports of the first two Shining Force Gaiden titles for Game Gear. IN ENGLISH! These games are spin-offs taking place between Shining Force 1&2, this is simply a must own. It even has some extra content not found in either. Sadly, towns weren't expanded to full levels of SF1+2, but with music rearrangements THIS good, who cares? Your only option to play Final Conflict in English is through a translated Game Gear rom.
Note: You will need some form of external storage to access the extra scenarios since the Sega CD's internal storage can't save the massive save files.
|Silpheed||Rail Shooter||Developed by Game Arts, the same people behind the Lunar and Grandia series, Silpheed is a pretty interesting shmup that will have you playing for quite a while. Also, perhaps the most ingenious use of the hardware. It was in fact a relatively simple 3D game, laid on top of a pre-rendered video - but as that was done with flat-shaded polygons, the whole thing looked consistent, giving the illusion that the Mega-CD was some polygon monster doing all those highly detailed backgrounds in real time.|
|SimEarth||Planet Sim||It is SimEarth for the MegaCD. 'Nuff said.|
|Snatcher||Adventure / Light Gun||An early Hideo Kojima game. A fantastic experience that mixes a great graphic text-adventure with light-gun segments for a truly unique experience, making you feel like an actual |
|Sol-Feace||Shoot 'em Up||A pretty good SHMUP, albeit a bit easy if you're used to REALLY HARD ones.|
|Sonic the Hedgehog CD||Platformer||Arguably the best Classic 2D Sonic platformer. Fast, tight gameplay, great visuals, great music, and a cool implementation of the '|
|Soul Star||Rail Shooter||A pretty awesome rail-shooter in space that sometimes changes to a free-movement shooter. Pretty enjoyable, if it a bit slow. And be sure to avoid the Circle beam once you get the superior orange Laser. Good spritework and the early polygonal graphics look surprisingly decent. The soundtrack is nice as well. Not to be confused with Silpheed.|
|Terminator||Run 'n Gun||A balls to the walls hard Run 'N Gun game with the Terminator franchise. Super tough, super manly, FANTASTIC SOUNDTRACK . An overlooked game. A few control issues, but you'll get used to them and not really notice after awhile. No, I don't know what's up with the weird packaging art either.|
|Vay||RPG||A somewhat basic, but still well done RPG, mostly thanks to the efforts of Working Designs. The game is a little generic, but the characters and voice acting are very well done. CD-audio music helps a lot too. There is also an iPhone edition out as well, complete with voice acting, too!|
|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|