Favorite obscure Genesis games
I’m a big fan of the underdogs on the Genesis. Here’s a few you will find on very few recommendation lists because of obscurity.
Thunder Force II – shoot ’em up
Almost always eclipsed by Thunder Force III, Thunder Force II offers much more verity and I think its a better game because of it. TF2 is a top-down and sidescrolling shooter, sort of like Lifeforce for the NES. The difference is that the top-down stages are free-range meaning you go in any direction you point your ship. Areas are limited in size of course so you’ll just loop back to the other side if you continue to move in one direction too long. When you destory certain enemies they turn into weapons upgrades, which you can switch on the fly to suit the situation. You’ll quickly feel very powerful and it’s awesome. Thunder Force II is one of my favorite shooters ever. The digital voice samples are hilariously unclear and awful. ENGIE ROOKS TO BE A LOTTER, GOOD RUK!
Rockman Mega World – action platformer collection
Rockman Mega World is a curious collection with a convoluted history. This is a collection of 16-bit remakes of Megaman 1-3 as well as an exclusive gauntlet of three bosses based on Journey to the West and a brand new Wily castle. When all three games have been beaten, you can go to the new stages and select any eight weapons and three items from all the weapons and items from Megaman 1-3! This means you can use the Thunder Beam then the Metal Blade and then the Gemini Laser! I really wish Capcom would revisit this idea in the future, even if it was DLC. Using classic weapons is an awesome touch.
Rockman Mega World was released in Japan in 1994 and Europe sometime around then, but for North America Sega decided to distribute it exclusively on the short-lived Sega Channel, meaning that its pretty much impossible to play the North American version today unless you worked with Sega and have some sort of prototype. Because of this fact, you’ll have to import.
The bad news: both Rockman Mega-World (Japan) and Megaman Wily Wars (Europe) are region-locked games, and Wily Wars is PAL, meaning the game runs about 12% slower than it should.
The good news: If you’re handy, the Genesis can be modified with a region switch to naively accept the other regional carts. There are also converters to do this, but they’re rare and expensive. You could also use a Gamegenie to override the region lock out. It’s a big hassle, but I recommend importing Rockman Mega World as opposed to the European version due to the massively reduced speed.
Zero Wing – shoot ’em up
Zero Wing is a Japan and PAL exclusive, but the PAL version isn’t any slower than the Japanese version and plus it’s in Engrish. Around 2001, Zero Wing became internet famous when its opening sequence text scroll made its way across the internet and into our hearts.
For those unfamiliar, I’ll just leave it here.
Beyond its opening though, you’ll find Zero Wing is actually a good shooter with some of the best music on Sega’s platform.