US TurboGrafx CD Games List

This is another one of those lists that was a lot more interesting and useful back before GameFAQs improved their search system, but hopefully it’s still got at least some amount of value.

This list should be complete and accurate. 44 licensed games were released for the TCD system in the US, evenly split between CD and Super CD titles. The four 1993 CD titles came out after the Duo did; as for the seven 1992 titles, there’s no way to really know, release dates for US TG16/TGCD releases are pretty much nonexistent. Release years is the most precise you can be.

But we do know that between launch in December 1989 (or maybe summer 1990? It’s unclear exactly) and December 1991, 12 CD games were released. Twelve. Ouch.  And most of those were released in 1990, with only a couple of lone releases in the mostly-empty year of 1991.  1991 really is the obvious gap in the US Turbo CD library, as anyone who reads this list should see!  It’s too bad it didn’t get more releases that year, there were lots of games to bring over.

Then in 1992-1994, Hudson and TTI tried harder to push the Turbo CD in the US.  The effort was unsuccessful, but did result in many more Turbo CD releases than were seen in ’91.  From ’92 to early ’94 31 games were released, with only 2 of those being in 1994, plus one more game in late ’94 to make a total of 32 releases for the Turbo CD in ’92-’94, versus 12 in ’89-’91, or ’90-’91 if the games didn’t release until then as seems likely.  It’s clear that it wasn’t until the Duo/Super CD/Johnny Turbo era that the Turbo CD was pushed much… but it didn’t sell nearly well enough, and TTI went bankrupt, hence only a few 1994 releases.

Victor Ireland of Working Designs said that he thinks that only 40,000 Turbo CDs and Duos sold in the US, split evenly between CD and Duo systems.  It’s likely that more Duos than that sold overall, because of systems Turbo Zone Direct sold off later on (Vic Ireland stopped releasing games for the TCD in mid 1993), but sales were quite bad, likely under 50,000 combining the CD and Duo together.  Compared to this, the TurboGrafx-16 itself sold 900,000 systems in the Americas.  That’s a low adoption rate, and it’s really unfortunate because so many of the best games for the system are on CD!  Even just the limited US library below is loaded with good games, and the region-free nature of the system makes playing imports easy as well, though I am not listing those here.

Key: For each game I list the title and [in brackets] the genre.  40 of the 44 officially-licensed releases were published by NEC USA.  The exceptions are noted with the note (Working Designs third-party release); these were published by VIctor Ireland’s company Working Designs, the only third-party who published Turbo CD games in the US.

US Turbo CD Games

44 officially licensed titles. 2 unlicensed releases during the system’s life. 5 modern unlicensed physical homebrew releases.  At the end of the list I also list the 9 US and 4 Japanese Turbo/PCE CD games released on the Wii Virtual Console in the late ’00s.

CD-ROM2 – 20 games (plus 2 unlicensed)

1989 or 1990 (these games were ready for launch, whenever exactly that was between Dec. ’89 and Summer ’90 (it’s unknown exactly when the Turbo CD released), and are copyrighted to 1989)

Fighting Street [Fighting game]
Monster Lair [Platformer/Shmup]

1990

The Addams Family [Platformer]
Final Zone II [Topdown Run & Gun]
J.B. Harold Murder Club [Adventure]
Last Alert [Topdown Run & Gun]
Magical Dinosaur Tour [Edutainment Adventure]
Valis II [Platform-Action]
Ys Book I & II [Action-RPG]

1991

It Came From The Desert [FMV Action]
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective [FMV Adventure]
Ys Book III: Wanderers from Ys [Action-RPG]

1992

Exile [Action-RPG] (Working Designs third-party release)
Cosmic Fantasy 2 [JRPG] (Working Designs third-party release)
Jack Nicklaus Turbo Golf [Sports: Golf]
Lords of the Rising Sun [Strategy/Action]
Splash Lake [Puzzle/Action]
Valis III [Platformer]

1993

Buster Bros. [Action/Shmup]
Vasteel [Strategy] (Working Designs third-party release)

Unlicensed

Hawaiian Island Girls – 1993? [Photo CD-style thing]
The Local Girls of Hawaii – 1993? [Photo CD-style thing]

CD-ROM2 with Super CD-ROM2 Enhancements – 2 games

1993

Syd Mead’s Terraforming (“Super CD” packaging in the US, but in fact it is a regular CD game with some SCD enhancements)
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Volume 2 (“Super CD” packaging in the US, but in fact it is a regular CD game with some SCD enhancements) [Shmup]

Super CD-ROM2 – 22 games (plus 4 recent homebrew titles)

1992

Gate of Thunder [Shmup]
Forgotten Worlds [Shmup]
Prince of Persia [Platformer]
Shadow of the Beast [Platform/Adventure]
Loom [Adventure]
Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes [JRPG]

1993

Beyond Shadowgate [Adventure]
Super Air Zonk: Rockabilly Paradise [Shmup]
Camp California [Platformer]
Cotton: Fantastic Night Dream [Shmup]
Riot Zone [Beat ’em up]
Lords of Thunder [Shmup]
Exile: Wicked Phenomenon [Action-RPG] (Working Designs third-party release)
John Madden Duo CD Football [Sports: Football]
Might & Magic III: Isles of Terra [First-person RPG]
Shape Shifter [Platform-Adventure]
Sim Earth: The Living Planet [Strategy/Sim]
Dungeon Explorer II [Action-RPG] (NEC published, but Working Designs did the voice work)
Dungeon Master: Theron’s Quest [First-person RPG]

1994? (these games are probably actually Jan-Mar. 1994 releases, but are copyrighted to 1993 for unknown reasons)

Godzilla [Fighting]
The Dynastic Hero [Action-RPG]

1994 (definitely)

Bonk 3 – Bonk’s Big Adventure CD [Platformer, port of a HuCard game]

Homebrew Releases, mid 2000s to present
(all Super CD-ROM2)


Implode (2002) [block Puzzle game]
Meteor Blaster DX (2004) [Asteroids clone Static-screen Shmup]
Insanity (2009) [Berzerk clone Arcade Action]
Mysterious Song (2011) [RPG, port of an old PC game]
Pyramid Plunder (2013) [Pac-Man style Arcade Action]

Virtual Console Digital Re-releases on Wii

Wii Virtual Console re-releases of US Turbo CD games: Gate of Thunder, Super Air Zonk, The Dynastic Hero, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Riot Zone, Lords of Thunder, SimEarth: The Living Planet, Fighting Street, Ys Books I & II

Wii Virtual Console Western releases of Japan-only PC Engine CD [Turbo CD] Games – These games are not localized, but did get a US release on the Wii VC.  All play fine without knowing Japanese. Titles: Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou [Shmup], Akamajou Dracula X: Chi no Rondo (Castlevania X: Rondo of Blood) [Platformer], Cho Aniki [Shmup], Star Parodier [Shmup].

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