My Top Ten Mega Drive Games (terms and conditions apply)

After a bit of discussion on Twitter about the state of Super Play’s top 100 SNES games list with Paul and Danny the idea was bandied around that we should produce our own to address what we thought we glaring gaps and strange omissions in theirs (not even the mighty Super Play is above criticism!). Paul will no doubt post his epic top 100 SNES game list on his blog Crystal Blue Dreams when he’s done but as somebody both less ambitious and more idle I thought I’d do the same but different – a top ten for the Mega Drive, SNES, and PC Engine, starting with the Mega Drive.

In an effort to keep this list somewhat worthwhile I’ve given myself three rules:

  1. The game must be an original Mega Drive game. It doesn’t matter where it ended up, but it must have started life on the Mega Drive.
  2. Only games I’ve owned are eligible. It’s easy to gush over legendary £200+ rarities you can only dream of having but I’d feel a bit insincere doing so. For the curious I’ve put a “Top five most wanted” list at the end.
  3. Nothing really obvious! It’d be easy to fill this list with games like Sonic 2 and Phantasy Star IV, but what’s the point in that? I don’t think anyone really needs me to tell them that Streets of Rage 3 is worth playing.

Oh and one last thing… I’ve ordered it alphabetically. My brain absolutely does not allow me to even try and express why a dolphin simulator would be better than a fantasy SRPG or an action game with giant robots in it. Make something up if you have to, I don’t mind.

Oh and one more one last thing – I’ve used Japanese names because every game on my list that has an alternative western title also has unwanted (by me, at least) western tinkering, most obvious in Magical Hat… (AKA Decap Attack) and Kujaku Ou 2 (AKA Mystic Defender). So, here we go~!

 

Alien Soldier

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This game just never fails to impress me. Bold, exciting and a technical marvel, this is Treasure’s love letter to the Mega Drive. Massive differences in equipment mean you can really tailor the experience to yourself and find your own strategy.

Alisia Dragoon

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A lot more understated than Alien Soldier, but still an attractive and difficult action game. The ability to switch your helper and the need to keep an eye on Alisia’s thunder meter give it a strategic depth that only the best in the genre have.

Ecco II: The Tides of Time

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I went for the sequel because it’s prettier and expands on a lot of the ideas that were in the already unique original. Time travelling dolphin adventures are still pretty thin on the ground, sadly.

EX-Ranza

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AKA: Ranger-X. Varied level design that spends a lot of time avoiding the usual left-to-right formula without letting up on the action, and some fantastic technical tricks up its sleeve just in case being an excellent action game wasn’t enough.

Golden Axe II

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Basically more Golden Axe, which is never a bad thing in my book. Objectively I suppose there’s not much to write home about here, but it’s a solid game and always good fun with a friend.

Kujaku Ou 2

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AKA: Mystic Defender. Yet another “tough but cool” action platformer with a distinct eastern flair. The US/PAL versions swapped out Kujaku and his “dress” for Joe Yamato and and a generic purple outfit. Yay.

Langrisser

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So good it spawned a series of games, a million remakes (well, it feels like it), and an MMO! Battles take a while, but this is a fantastic SRPG. Ended up in America relatively unmolested as "Warsong”.

Magical Hat no Buttobi Turbo! Daibouken

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This is what Decap Attack actually looks like. Magical Hat is a really lovely bright-and-breezy platformer that’s well worth anyone’s time.

Ragnacenty

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Comparisons to Zelda aren’t unfair, but Ragnacenty’s plot and pet system make it far more than some A Link to the Past wannabe. Released in the US as “Crusader of Centy” and in PAL-land as “Soleil” (with a better translation than the US version too).

Surging Aura

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Surging Aura is what happens when you give Phantasy Star IV a Middle Eastern visual twist and an exciting real time battle system. There’s still no English translation for this, and it’s a damn shame because it definitely deserves one.

BONUS ROUND! Five Mega Drive games I’d like to own:

This is just a little list for the curious; these are all brilliant games that tend to be rare, expensive, or both. Some are in the “I could buy these if I’m feeling well-off” price range, others are more the coffee-spurting “HOW MUCH?!” type. ^^~

Battle Mania Daijingou

El Viento

Eliminate Down

Panorama Cotton

Pulseman

(Some images were pinched from GameFAQs)