Sega Genesis Game Opinion Summaries, Part I: Letters A & B

For anyone following the site sorry for the lack of updates for a few weeks, but I’ve been busy, and working on this.  Instead of working for months on a list like this and posting it all at once, this time I’m instead going to break it up into smaller parts.  I finally finished part one, so here it is!  Sega Genesis Game Opinion Summaries, part one: summaries for the 28 Genesis games I have starting with the letters A and B.

I have 211 Genesis games, the first 28 of which are covered in this post.  A full list is also below.


The Genesis is one of the best systems ever! Sega released the Genesis in August 1989.  It initially did okay, and Sega did outpace semi-incompetent NEC’s Turbografx-16, but the NES still reigned supreme. However, in 1991 that all changed with the release of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega’s legendary classic.  While I probably had heard of the Genesis before Sonic, it was Sonic that made me, along with a lot of other kids, pay attention to Sega for pretty much the first time; I have no memories of even remembering about the existence of the Master System, in the ’80s… but a lot for the Genesis in the ’90s.  Behind Sonic’s success in the West, Sega rapidly expanded, and in 1993 was #1 in the US home console market.  Sadly, after that Sega started making mistakes which, combined with their smaller size compared to the competition, would eventually drive them out of the market.  But before that they had a lot of success, and the Genesis was their peak.  The Genesis is Sega’s best and most successful system, and I like it a lot.  That’s part of why this list took so long — it’s a list I’ve wanted to make for quite some time now, but I kept putting it off in favor of easier lists for systems I don’t like quite as much as the Genesis.  I’m glad to finally be posting the first part of the list, even if it is just a part.

During the ’90s, I had more personal experiences with the Genesis than the other 4th-gen home consoles.  I love all three of the major 4th-gen consoles, the SNES, Genesis, and Turbografx, but the Genesis is the one of them I have the most nostalgia for, certainly.  While I did not own any home consoles until I got an N64 in 1999, the NES, Genesis, and N64 are the systems I played the most at friends’ houses back in the late ’80s and through the ’90s.  So, I have a lot of nostalgia for the Genesis, more so than I do for the SNES.  Sure, I read Nintendo Power and got a Game Boy in 1993, but the Genesis, not the SNES, is the system I played a lot more of.  While I’ve always liked Nintendo the most, for console-game developers, I always liked Sega as well; in the SNES vs. Genesis console war I didn’t dislike either one.  It was only when Sony entered the industry that there was (and still is) a major player I couldn’t stand.   On top of that, the Genesis is, on my list, Sega’s best console.  Both systems are great, and I can’t choose which one I like more; I always just say that they’re tied overall, and for me it really is true.  Looking up the numbers I’ve put next to games in my game-collection spreadsheet, the Genesis has more games I’ve given a 9 or higher to, and this advantage gets bigger if you include its addons the Sega CD and 32X, but the SNES has a slightly higher average score.

Notable Game Lists

My favorite games (the order is NOT certain, these could be in almost any order, other than S3&K definitely being the best.):

1. Sonic 3 & Knuckles
2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
3. Sonic the Hedgehog
4. Mega Turrican
5. Outrun 2019
6. Aladdin
7. Adventures of Batman & Robin
8. Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole
9. Streets of Rage 2
10. Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar

Honorable Mentions:  Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi, Ranger-X, Contra: Hard Corps, Vectorman, Golden Axe, Alisia Dragoon, Hardball III, Rocket Knight Adventures, Wonder Boy in Monster World, The Lost Vikings, Rolling Thunder 2, Universal Soldier, Golden Axe II, Truxton, Gauntlet IV, Warsong, Phelios, Micro Machines, Viewpoint, Blades of Vengeance, Comix Zone, Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition, Sub-Terrania, Beyond Oasis, Roadblasters, Warsong, The Lost Vikings, Crusader of Centy, and many more! (see full Genesis list for more)

My 10 least favorite Genesis games I have (in alphabetical order, not prioritized)

Battle Squadron, Combat Cars, DJ Boy, Fun ‘N Games, Instruments of Chaos starring Young Indiana Jones, Mallet Legend’s Whac-A-Critter, Rastan Saga II, Super Battleship, Technocop, Quad Challenge.  Dishonorable Mentions: Taz-Mania, Mario Andretti Racing

Special Awards

Best Music and Best Overall Audio-visual presentation: The Adventures of Batman & Robin
Most Impressive Technical Graphical Achievement: Red Zone
Most Important Game: Sonic the Hedgehog
Best Addon: Sega CD

Sega Genesis Game Opinion Summaries

28 summaries are in this update

Adventures of Batman & Robin, The
Air Diver
Al Michaels Announces HardBall III
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Alien Storm
Alisia Dragoon
Altered Beast
Arcus Odyssey
Arrow Flash
Asterix and the Great Rescue
Atomic Runner
Batman: Revenge of the Joker
Battle Squadron
Battletoads / Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team
Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Quest
Beauty and the Beast: Roar of the Beast
Beyond Oasis
Bio-Hazard Battle
Blades of Vengeance
Boogerman: A Pick & Flick Adventure
Bubba ‘n’ Stix
Bubsy II
Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble
Burning Force

Best Games This Update: Aladdin, Adventures of Batman & Robin, Alisia Dragoon, Blades of Vengeance, Beyond Oasis.

Adventures of Batman & Robin, The – 1-2 player simultaneous.  The Adventures of Batman & Robin, by Clockwork Tortoise and published by Sega, is a fantastic run & gun action game, and is my favorite game in the genre on the Genesis.  I know that most people’s favorite is Gunstar Heroes, but I much prefer this game myself; I’d put that game third, behind this and also Contra Hard Corps.  Yes, this licensed game is that great!  With outstanding graphics that show off the power of the Genesis, an exceptional techno soundtrack, two player co-op play, and lots of action, this game is a must-have classic.  In the game you can play as Batman and/or Robin, and have to make your way through some long levels, as you defeat the various enemies from the show.  The levels are few, but each one is extremely long and has multiple areas and miniboss fights before you get to the final, stage-end boss.  The end bosses are always impressive.  There are several weapons to pick up, all projectiles — this is a run & gun, so it’s a shooting game.  The enemies will shoot a lot of bullets at you, so do your best to dodge!  You do have health in this game, shown by a ring of health blocks around your life counter in a corner of the screen, but while dying will not be immediate, it will come frequently thanks to the volume of enemies, and enemy attacks, you will face.  Either characters’ basic weapon is a boomerang, but better ones are available, including a stronger straight shot, and a spread shot.  You CAN fire diagonally in this game, thankfully!  It’s very much appreciated.  If you don’t fire you will charge up for a strong attack.  Make sure to collect the weapon powerups, because they’re important!  With only the basic attack power, you’re in trouble.  You lose weapon powerups when you die, so stay alive too.  Make sure to collect all the health-refilling hearts you can!  In addition to your standard ranged attacks, you also have a few melee attacks, and these don’t lose power.  You have a slide, jump-kick, and a punch.  The slide is great, but won’t make you invincible like the Contra Hard Corps slide.  The punch and jump kick are powerful, but only works at close range of course.  Still, they’re great moves, very useful.

So, this is a great game, with a constant stream of cool encounters to face.  The game does have two issues, though.  First, it’s incredibly hard.  The Adventures of Batman & Robin has only a handful of levels, but they are all extremely long multipart stages with several bosses in each one.  Actually beating this game will take a SERIOUS effort; you have limited continues and lives, and there’s no saving of course.  The levels can be tough, and bosses have a lot of health and take quite some time to take down.  Fortunately bosses do have health percentages shown on screen.  I’ve gotten maybe 2/3rds of the way through the game, but not any farther.  The game gets harder and harder and harder as you go along.  This game requires a huge amount of memorization, but with effort you will slowly get farther.  I just wish that I didn’t have to go back to the beginning of the game so often, because having to go back to the beginning every time I run out of continues is frustrating.  Also, within each area, the game has very limited graphical variety.  In the first stage for instance, you’re looking at the same couple of buildings again and again.  Get used to the repetition.  There are only a few enemy types in each stage, too, so you’ll see each one a lot.  This isn’t uncommon for a 4th gen game, of course, but it is noticeable.  The cool graphical effects are also noticeable, though.  The screen warps around, they pull off scaling effects such as wrecking balls zooming in and out of the screen or bosses twisting around, characters are fairly well-animated and look great, and more!

In addition to the platformer levels, there is also one fairly long shmup level in the middle of the game.  It’s even more repetitive than the platformer levels, with basically only one background you’re flying over for the whole long thing, but I think it’s pretty fun.  The sense of depth is impressive, too — it’s not just parallax scrolling here, it really looks like those buildings are moving by below you!  Really cool effect there.  Shmups are fun, and while this isn’t a great shmup, it is a good one.  Overall, with action this furious, against numerous enemies with projectiles all over the screen and with no slowdown in sight, these faults are forgivable.  The backgrounds may repeat, but they’re visually impressive all the same, and the constant action never stops!  There is lots of variety between levels, also.  The amazing music helps as well, certainly; this game has one of the best, most technically impressive soundtracks on the Genesis, hands down.  The composer, Jesper Kyd, did some of his finest work here!  It’s all fast, up-tempo techno, and the pounding beats are perfect for the chunky electronic sounds of the Genesis sound chip.  The music tracks are long, too.  The title-screen track is over nine minutes long!  This is one of the best soundtracks on the Genesis.  Overall, in graphics, music,  gameplay, level designs, boss fights, and everything else, The Adventures of Batman & Robin is absolutely exceptional, easily one of the best run & gun games of all time.  It’s not quite as great as the Metal Slug games on my list, and it’s so hard that I don’t know if I will ever manage to finish this game, but it’s one of the best after the Metal Slug games.  Buy this game, absolutely no question.  There are Adventures of Batman & Robin games on other platforms, but this one is Genesis-exclusive — the SNES, Game Gear, and Sega CD games of the same name are entirely different titles.  Clockwork Tortoise did also make the Sega CD game, but it’s completely different from this one!  It’s a scaler-style driving combat game.  It’s absolutely INSANELY hard, but pretty great as well!  See my review in the SCD thread.

Air Diver – 1 player.  Air Diver is a mediocre first-person rail shooter-style game, in the vein of Sega’s G-LOC but much worse.  After getting this game it immediately disappointed me, and my opinion on it hasn’t changed.  Air Diver clearly wants to be a harder version of G-LOC, but the problem is that they made it far too difficult!  This is a very challenging, frustrating game, and the Genesis hardware holds it back as well; this game needed hardware sprite scaling and rotation, but this system doesn’t have that.  The game seems to have a sci-fi setting, and you’re in a futuristic fighter plane, saving the world from the enemy forces, but the enemies are mostly in fairly normal-looking jets, except for the massive sci-fi spaceship bosses.  Visually, this is a rail shooter with an inside-the-cockpit view.  The cockpit takes up far too much of the screen, leaving only a relatively small amount of the screen for the actual game.  Despite this the scaling is very choppy as I said, and following enemies as they fly around is difficult.  The radar is key, but even there it’s tricky.  For controls, one button is for guns, one for missiles, and one for maneuvers such as loop-the-loops, with a direction.  As usual in the genre, in each stage you fly along a set path, and have to kill the enemy planes along the way.  Once you take out the tough miniboss at the end, you fly up into space and take on the real boss.  The key for minibosses is to use loops to get behind them once they fly behind you; otherwise they will kill you every time.  Try Up+C, that might be the right command. following a set path killing the enemies, and then fight a large boss at the end of the stage.  The regular enemies aren’t too bad with practice, though you will have many random deaths from their nearly-impossible-to-track missiles, but the minibosses and main bosses are kind of ridiculous!  This game really is too hard for its own good.  It’s hard enough to dodge the missiles in After Burner and G-LOC games, but it’s even harder here, and the game punishes you more by setting you back a good ways each time you die.  The dying gets old fast, and I’ve never gotten far into this game at all.  I admit that G-LOC is a bit easy, so maybe there is a place for people who really want something like that but hard, but they went too far the other way on hardware that can’t quite do this kind of game well, or at least it doesn’t here.  G-LOC for Genesis runs a lot better than this game does, and it’s much more fun too.  Just stick to that one, though hard game fans might want to check Air Diver out.  For me, though, when I played this game again for this summary I liked the game slightly more than I thought I would, but it still is kind of bad.  Air Diver is for masochists only.

Al Michael Announces HardBall III – 1-2 player simultaneous, battery save (can save a game in progress as well as a season).  Hardball III is my favorite baseball game ever made!  It’s true.  Well, the original PC version of this game is.  This Genesis port isn’t quite the equal of the PC game, thanks to its downgraded graphics and absent real-players option, but otherwise this is a great, great game I highly recommend at least trying.  Yes, the players in this game are made up, and the teams are just named for their cities; there is no license here.  However, the game does have every single one of the real baseball stadiums from 1992 in the game!  How many cart-based baseball games from this generation have that?  They’re good representations, too, they look just like they should.  Being able to play in Fenway Park instead of Generic Stadium 3 makes a huge difference, even if the players aren’t real.  The Hardball series was very popular on computers from the mid ’80s to mid ’90s, and it’s a bit more simmish than most console baseball games of the time.  Instead of being one of those NES-style games where you view the field from a zoomed-in view, Hardball III’s field view shows the whole field on one screen, or at least, it goes to the outfield in one screen; there  are three angles, for left, center, or right field focus, but you can always see everything you need to on one screen.  This makes for a dramatic difference from your usual 8 or 16-bit baseball game with their suffocatingly close-in cameras; in Hardball III, you can actually field like you should be able to!  For one example of this, I never, ever play this game with the optional ball target markers on.  You can tell where a ball is going to go based on watching the ball and its shadow, and the arcadey crutch of “go here to catch the ball” target circles is entirely unnecessary and, for me at least, unwanted.  Hardball III’s graphics are a bit small, but they’re good.  It’s much lower resolution than the PC game, but that can’t be helped.  The game does have some good sound and music, including voiced announcing and several nice music tracks.

The field view isn’t the only unique thing about Hardball III, either.  The batting/pitching mechanic is also somewhat unique, and so is the impressively full-featured feature set!   First I’ll talk about the batting view.  Hardball III has two options for this, a behind-the-pitcher view or a behind-the-batter view.  I generally much prefer the batter view, and almost always play exclusively with that view.  In the classic Hardball games, the game works with just a stick/pad and one button.  And yes, it works great this way!  Simple menus appear for the pitcher and batter before each pitch.  From here the pitcher selects a pitch, and the batter a swing type, Normal or Power.  Power will hit the ball harder, but the sweet spot is smaller, so it’ll be harder to get a hit.  Pitchers have two to four pitch types each, from a selection of six or so pitches in the game.  Batters can also choose to steal or hit-and-run here, and the pitcher can change defensive player alignments (to do a shift, for instance), or try to throw out a player on base. After choosing a pitch, you then can sort of aim it; this isn’t one of those silly games where you make a curveball by waving the ball around in the air with the d-pad, but pressing the directions after selecting a pitch will aim your pitch towards that area.  Hitting is HARD in this game, and getting used to the batting is very, very challenging.  You can move around in the box, and holding a pad direction will angle your swing.  Good luck getting hits, you’ll need it!  You’ll lose a lot at this game before finally starting to get used to it.  For those without the patience, this might be the games’ biggest flaw, because there are NO difficulty settings to be found here — you’ve just got to get used to it and try to figure out how to actually get hits.  Of course, players all have a bunch of stats.  Pitchers get tired, too, so warm up relievers when your starter tires.

Of course, as the name suggests, this game is also fully voiced with voice samples by the very well-known sports announcer Al Michaels, who actually is still around as an announcer, mostly for football I believe.  It’s very pasted-together stuff, with lots of silly broken sound bits, but it’s classic stuff and I love it.  “Next up, the THIRD baseman, number SIX ty Four”… 😀  Just getting this much voice into a Genesis game is impressive, really!  The save features are impressive too.  When I got this, I was NOT expecting the PC games’ save-game feature to be present here — the idea of a console baseball game where you can actually save a game in progress was still near-unthinkable two or three generations AFTER this game!  And yet, as I said earlier, it’s here.  You can pause a game in progress and save it.  You can save your season progress too, which is great.  There are various season length options, from 30-something games to a full 162.  You can play as several different teams in the same season, interestingly, if you want.  One thing to note, though — this game uses the 1992 season, so there are only two divisions per league, East and West, and there are only 26 teams total.  That’s how it was when the game came out.  The game also has a batting-practice mode, and a home run derby mode.  You can also play a single game of course.  You can watch an AI-versus-AI game too, amusingly.  The game also lets you fully edit the league and league championship names and the logos for all of the teams, if you want to draw in the real names and logos.  You can also edit all the players, though just buying the PC version with the real-players expansion would be a lot easier than inserting them all yourself!  Sure it’s the 1992 players, but as this is two-divisions anyway, it fits.  Overall, I’ve been a huge fan of Hardball III ever since I first played the game for PC somewhere around 1995, and I still am.  It’s a hard, hard game, but is truly great!  It may be partially nostalgia, but on either PC or Genesis, in my opinion Hardball III is the best baseball game ever made.  Play it.  Also on PC.  Thre is a Super Nintendo game called “Hardball III”, but it is NOT in fact a port of Hardball III; instead, it’s a port of the downgraded Genesis sequel, Hardball ’94.  The Genesis version of that game is reviewed below, but on SNES, it’s even worse: they cut out the battery save, shamefully!  Just awful.  Skip that and get the Genesis games, Hardball III and ’95 particularly.  Hardball III for PC and Genesis is the best baseball game ever made.  Play it.

Aladdin – 1 player.  Aladdin was one of the most popular Genesis games during the system’s life, and it’s very easy to see why!  Genesis Aladdin is a game I did play during the system’s life, and I thought it was pretty amazing.  Aladdin is my favorite Disney movie, which I’m sure helps, but Aladdin is a fantastic game which holds up great.  It has a few issues, but is very good overall; Aladdin the Genesis game is almost as great as the movie is.  This game is a platformer, and unlike the inferior SNES game, you get a sword in this one.  You can throw apples at enemies in both games, but on the SNES you’re relegated to just jumping on heads.  The Genesis game is better. 🙂  The game was directed by Dave Perry, and while Earthworm Jim might be his most popular game, Aladdin is my favorite one of his games and the only one of his platformers I love.  This game was developed by Virgin while Perry still worked there, but Disney was brought in to help out, and actual Disney animators did the art used for the sprites in the game.  It shows, as the animation in this game is some of the best of the generation!  Virgin’s games had great animation even without Disney, but with them the results are very impressive.  The level graphics are also fantastic; this game is incredible looking all around.

Aladdin isn’t just about great graphics, though.  The game also has great gameplay and level designs, too.  Generally I am not a big fan of highly-animated platformers like Prince of Persia, or the gameplay of other Dave Perry Genesis platformers, but Aladdin plays better than those other games.  This is sort of in that style, so you do need to get used to how Aladdin moves and jumps,  He has momentum, so the goal is fast and fluid movement.  Aladdin should be in motion most of the time.  One nice thing is that while this is a challenging game, Aladdin has a very well-designed difficulty curve.  At first even the first level may seem hard, but once you get used to the controls and how Aladdin moves, it’s easy.  For instance, it’s not until some levels in, in the Cave of Wonders, that you finally have to deal with instant-death pits.  It’s there that the game gets hard, and indeed I have never managed to beat this game, sadly enough.  I’ve played the game enough over the years that the levels up until the Cave of Wonders aren’t much of a problem, but The Cave of Wonders levels are tough, and you have limited continues and no saving.  This game rewards practice and repeat play, and it is fun enough that I’ll keep trying to finish this.  Aladdin is mostly a straightforward game where your goal is to reach the end of the level and maybe also get some key items.  There are some other things to collect along the way, though, including health items, gems to spend in the hidden stores for lives and continues, and access to the bonus minigames.  There are two minigames, a wheel of chance which can give you stuff, and a bonus game where you play as Abu the monkey, and have to grab good items and avoid bad ones.  The Abu minigame is fun, but the wheel is just random luck.

But again, one of the best things about Aladdin are the level designs.  Levels are good-sized and complex, and exploration is always important.  Exploring the levels is quite fun.  They are full of enemies, ropes to climb on, platforms, and collectibles.  I already mentioned teh absence of death pits until well into the game, but another great thing about Aladdin is that unlike some other Dave Perry games on the Genesis, most notably Global Gladiators and Cool Spot, Aladdin has very, very few blind jumps.  For me at least, this makes a HUGE difference!  Blind jumps are extremely frustrating, and I really don’t like them much because of it.  Aladdin doesn’t have that problem, thankfully.  The game can be tough, but it’s not unfair about it.  Sure, sometimes I find the disappearing platforms or the flying section in the Cave of Wonders frustrating, but the game makes me want to keep coming back until I get better.  The game has a great variety of enemies for the time, too, and they’re all animated well.  Each level both looks and plays differently.  From the city to the dungeon to the cave of wonders and beyond, Aladdin is a great, great game, one of the best on the Genesis.  Anyone with a Genesis should definitely have Aladdin!  Also on Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and DOS PC.  The Game Boy ports aren’t anywhere near as great as the original game.  (Game Boy Advance Aladdin is a port of the SNES game.)

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle – 1 player.  Alex Kidd’s only Genesis game isn’t that great, unfortunately.  I haven’t spent much time with most of his Master System games, though the first one seems decent but hard, and The Lost Stars is okay until you beat it a few minutes later.  The series kept changing in gameplay, but this game tried to get back to the style of the original game.  It’s just too bad that it doesn’t look and play better.  Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle isn’t a great looking game for the Genesis, and it’s very frustrating and has design problems, too.  This game is way too hard, for one.  And not only is it hard, but it’s sometimes random as well.  The game has regular rock-paper-scissors battles, and they’re pure guessing games.  Guess right, you win; guess wrong, you lose a life.  It’s an absolutely absurd mechanic to put into a tough platformer like this one!  This is one of the games’ bigger problems, but the platforming isn’t the greatest either.  This game doesn’t control nearly as well as a good platformer would.  The levels are good-sized and full of stuff to collect, but it’s too frustrating to play for me to want to actually stick with this one.  I got the game hoping it would be okay, but it’s a disappointment for sure.  Probably skip it.  This game is available in collections and digital re-releases of Sega’s Genesis games.

Alien Storm – 2 player simultaneous.  Alien Storm is an isometric beat ’em up.  It’s very much like any of Sega’s other beat ’em ups of the era, such as Streets of Rage and Golden Axe, except it’s got a sci-fi theme, unlike the others.  Sega’s beat ’em ups were some of the best in the genre, so it’s great to have another one!  I didn’t play this game as a kid, unlike Streets or Rage or Golden Axe, though, and don’t like it nearly as much as those games.  Still, it’s a quality game, and the core action is very well done, as always in Sega beat ’em ups.  You play as one of three characters, but even though they have guns, they only shoot a few inches, so as to make this like a traditional beat ’em up instead of a shooting game.  This is kind of annoying; I have a gun, why can’t I shoot it more than an inch?  Ah well.

As for the actual game, it’s okay, but pretty average stuff.  Alien Storm is one of Sega’s earlier beat ’em ups on the Genesis, and it’s one of their weaker ones.  Walk to the right, attack the aliens, and repeat.  Most of the game is like this, but the game does have a little more variety than most beat ’em ups — once in a while the game mixes things up with some target-shooting-style segments.  Here, you move a cursor around the screen, shooting at aliens and the environment.  These segments are moderately amusing, but aren’t anything special, and I don’t think they add that much to the game.  They do add even more to the ‘but why can’t I shoot far the rest of the time?’ question, though.  I know, the answer is “it’s a beat em up, that’s how they are!”, but some later Sega beat ’em ups manage to include guns; Die Hard Arcade, Dynamite Cop!, and especially Zombie Revenge have them.  It would have been nice if this game was more like a 16-bit version of that.  It’d have made it stand out a little, which as it is the game does not do.  This really is just a generic Sega beat ’em up, with alien enemies instead of thugs or medieval warriors.

Graphically, the game looks okay.  It has that classic ’80s Sega look, which is great, but it’s a bit too familiar, as the art design is a lot like other, better Sega games.  Despite all the problems I have with it, though, overall, Alien Storm is a good game.  The good core beat ’em up gameplay makes up for a lot, and it’s great that it does have two player co-op too; Sega’s all do, but third-party 4th gen beat ’em ups didn’t always.  And the art design is good; the aliens have that classic Sega style.  Even so though, overall this game is just above average, and isn’t as great as Sega’s two main Genesis beat ’em up franchises.  It’s worth a play sometime, though, if you like the genre.  Arcade port.  This game is available in collections and digital re-releases of Sega’s Genesis games.

Alisia Dragoon – 1 player.  Alisia Dragoon is a pretty fantastic side-scrolling platform-action game with design from the anime studio Gainax and developed by Game Arts.  One of Game Arts’ only cartridge games on the Genesis (they mostly worked on the Sega CD), this game is pretty fantastic!  Alisia Dragoon is one of the best games like this around, and it’s got some unique design elements as well that make it unlike anything else.  In the game, you play as female mage Alisia, who has to save the world from evil.  It starts out in a fantasy world, but gets weirder later on.  There’s some great variety of settings and enemies in this game!  It’s always throwing new things at you.  Alisia Dragoon is designed extremely well, but it is a really tough game.  This is one of those short but super-hard games that were popular back in the 3rd and 4th generations; there are only eight levels, but getting through all of them will be a serious challenge!  Alisia Dragoon looks and sounds good, as well.  The game isn’t one of the system’s best-looking games, and definitely has that color-poor Genesis look to it, but the art design is great, and spritework pretty good overall.  The music is catchy and high-quality as well.

The best thing about the game is its gameplay, though.  Instead of your average melee-range attack, or a normal gun, Alisia shoots lightning out of her hands!  This lightning automatically attacks every enemy on screen in the direction you are facing, so when facing right you shoot all enemies to your right, and facing left you shoot all to your left.  There is a magical charge meter on screen, so you can’t just hold the button down; if it runs out you have to stop shooting until it refills.  If you wait for the meter to fill up all the way, you’ll do a ‘bomb’ type attack that damages all enemies on screen some.  Alisia has four helper summon animals as well.  You can switch between them anytime if you pause the game.  These summons fly behind you and shoot at the enemies as well.  There’s a small dragon, a dragonfly, a fire wheel thing, and one other one.  The summons will level up as you use them, too, until they max out at third level.  Each level up increases their power and gives them more health.  There are also pickups to add to Alisia’s health bar, and you can also find hidden continue statues.  Explore every level thoroughly looking for secrets!  There are plenty to find.  All of this might make it sound like the game isn’t that tough, but it is!  Enemies can come at you from any direction, and it’s often hard to avoid them.  Enemies are numerous and avoiding damage is often near-impossible.  The games’ many bosses also can be fairly tough, as well, and can deal out plenty of damage if you get hit.  The boss fights are another standout element of this game; you face everything from mages to dragons to aliens, and more!  So yeah, this is a hard game.  Making it harder, while Alisia and the summons have health bars, and the four summons actually each have separate health, if you die, unless you’ve gotten a continue, that’s it; there are no continues by default, and there’s no save system of course.  Harsh!  Of course I wish it had a save system, I almost always do in games which don’t save, but this is a fantastic, addictive game, and it’s kept me coming back again and again.  The game rewards memorization and exploration, and the controls are fantastic.  The games’ graphical design is also great, and the music is good.  Alisia Dragoon is an outstanding game, play it!

Altered Beast – 2 player simultaneous.  Altered Beast was a launch title for the Genesis, and it was the original pack-in game with the system in the US.  I don’t have much of a memory of this game from the time, though, and looking at it more recently, it’s not very good.  Honestly, as much as people like to criticize the first Turbografx-16 packin, Keith Courage, I like that game a lot more than I do this one!  Altered Beast may have better graphics than Keith Courage, but in gameplay it’s subpar at best.  The two are quite different kinds of games, but still, Altered Beast is not that good.  Altered Beast is a side-scrolling beat ’em up, essentially.  The game has some platforming, but for the most part you just beat up the enemies as they come at you.  If you collect the powerups, which you need to, after a while you will power up and turn into an animal form, as the games’ name suggests.  These beast forms are much stronger, but you lose them after finishing each level, of course.  Argh.  As in many side-scrolling beat ’em ups, Altered Beast is an extremely simplistic game.  Beat ’em ups really benefit from moving to that isometric perspective, because being able to move in another dimension adds a lot to the games!  Here, there just isn’t enough to it.  Worse, what is here isn’t that good.  I dislike side-scrolling beat ’em ups in general, but the better ones are a lot better than this.  In Altered Beast levels are short, the challenge level uneven, level designs bland, and enemies repetitive.  Other than the admittedly nice ’80s Sega artwork and the two-player co-op mode, there’s not too much good to say about this game, honestly.  I know some people like it, but I don’t at all.  Altered Beast gets boring very quickly.  It’s blandly designed and not much fun to play.  Altered Beast is not one of the worst Genesis games, but it is below average for sure.  Arcade port, also on Sega Master System, PC Engine (TG16), and PC Engine CD (TG CD), and on various computer platforms as well.  This game is available in collections and digital re-releases of Sega’s Genesis games.

Animaniacs – 1 player.  Animaniacs for the Genesis is a puzzle-platformer based on a ’90s Disney cartoon that I didn’t watch much back then.  You control all three of the Animaniacs as you go through levels, beating enemies and solving puzzles.  In gameplay, it’s sort of like a second-rate The Lost Vikings.  Unfortunately, “second-rate” is just as important as “Lost Vikings” is.  I’m a big fan of The Lost Vikings, and have loved the game ever since I got it as a kid, but this game is nowhere near its quality.  Animaniacs isn’t bad, but for a game from Konami, I was expecting better!  This game is okay but somewhat disappointing all around.  Graphically the game looks okay, but not great.  The system can do a lot better than this.  Sure, the Genesis’s 64 color limit is a problem, but other games manage with it a lot better than this one does, and the sprite work isn’t anything special either.  The music is mostly forgettable as well.  Things don’t improve much when you start playing.  Animaniacs is an average game, nothing more.  Each of the three Animaniacs has a different ability which you will have to use in certain places in order to get past the puzzles and obstacles and progress.  All three move together, but you can switch which one you’re playing as with a button.  The games’ puzzles are generally simplistic and easy to figure out, sadly.  Controls are seviceable, but not the best.  This makes the game more of a traditional platformer than The Lost Vikings, since you’re not controlling each one separately — the other two will just follow the one you’re controlling around.  This is good, because a lot of this game is comprised of fairly standard platforming, it’s not all puzzles.  However, this also means that the game isn’t nearly as unique as The Lost Vikings is; it’s more much generic, and a lot less interesting.  The game does present some challenge, though, so it’s not all easy; it’s easy to die, and finishing a whole Scene (chapter) is tough.  The game sends you back a bit too far if you die, and continues mean restarting the whole scene.  The game is made up of four Scenes, each broken up into a bunch of stages.  The game does have passwords, but only for the Scenes; if you get a game over near the end of one, it’s back to the beginning with you.  This gets quite frustrating, as the levels can take a while to get through, and the controls could be better as well.  This is a short game, but I lost patience with it long before the end.  Overall, Animaniacs is okay.  This is an average game, and can be some fun, but isn’t nearly as good as Konami’s better platformers.  Fans of the show might like it more, though.  Konami also made Animaniacs games on other platforms, but they are entirely different from this one; it’s Genesis-exclusive.

Arcus Odyssey – 2 player simultaneous, password save.  Arcus Odyssey is an isometric action-RPG from Telenet’s Wolfteam studio that feels a bit like a Gauntlet game, but Japanese and without monster generators.  This is a fairly good game with some flaws that make it hard to finish.  This game has four playable characters, each quite different.  The game has only eight levels, but they are reasonably long, and get longer as the game progresses, so this game is not short unless you are quite good at it.  The action is fun at first, as you go around, kill enemies, and explore the stages.  The game controls well and looks decent, though this is a Telenet game so it doesn’t look great.  There is a decent variety of enemies, but they do respawn, and that is one of the games’ issues.  The main problem here are the stage designs, which quickly get frustratingly mazelike and confusing.  Unfortunately this game has a somewhat close zoom, large, mazelike levels, and respawning enemies, and these factors combine to create frustration.  Sure, you do get a password after each level for your progress and character, and that’s great, but that requires actually finishing levels to get, and I’ve only ever managed to get halfway through this game, as much as I do like it.  It just gets too hard.  If the game had had a map I think I’d stick with this a lot more, but without one I like this less than I perhaps should.  Overall though, Arcus Odyssey is worth a look.  Genre fans probably should pick it up if you find it cheap.  Even if they are usually flawed, Telenet games are at least interesting.  This is a Genesis exclusive in the US.  The game originally was also going to release on SNES in the US, but that  version was cancelled when Sega bought Renovation, Telenet’s US branch, when Telenet gave up on publishing games itself outside of Japan, perhaps Telenet’s first step towards their falling apart; Telenet was mostly dead by 1995.  At least we did get this Genesis version.  In Japan there is also an Arcus series of first-person dungeon-crawler RPGs, on Japanese computers and collected on Sega CD, which I believe this game is an action-RPG spinoff of.  This is the only game in the series with a Western release.

Arrow Flash – 1 player.  Arrow Flash is a bland and average horizontal space shooter from ITL which was published by Sega in Japan and Europe.  It is an okay game with some strengths, but I’ve never liked it much.  This was one of the first shmups I got for the Genesis after buying the console in 2006, and it immediately disappointed me with its average graphics and tedious, subpar gameplay.  Arrow Flash is decent, but it’s far from great, and there are much better shmups on the Genesis than this.  Sega of America must not have thought too much of this game, because they didn’t publish it themselves and instead let the third-party publisher Renovation release the game in the US.  This is something Sega of America did sometimes between the late ’80s and mid’ 90s, but while sometimes it’s hard to tell why they did it because the externally-published first-party titles are good, such as OutRunners or Columns III on Genesis, in this case my guess would be that they just didn’t think this one was good enough to release.  That shmups were one of the most popular genres in Japan into the early ’90s but didn’t quite hit that level of popularity in the US also could be a factor.

I should discuss the game itself, though.  For positives, Arrow Flash has okay graphics with some interesting stage backgrounds, good music, a female protagonist, and plenty of challenge.  Playing the game again for this summary, I really noticed the music, I had forgotten how good it is.  And while a fair number of shmups do have female protagonists, it still is a nice thing to see.  The game can be frustrating, though, as whenever you die you lose all your powerups and reset to the most basic weapon with no speed powerups.  It’s painful stuff and makes the game very challenging.  There is a shield powerup, but if you get hit too many times or get hit without one, you lose everything.  This is one of those games where you can be cruising along killing the enemies no problem, but when you die, you will soon die a lot more times in a hurry.  Bullets and enemies are often fast and very hard to avoid, adding to the frustration; the level designs here are not great.  And the game has limited continues, so you will need to play well in order to finish this game.  I haven’t managed that yet, this game is challenging.  The art design is fairly bland as well; some shmups have better ship designs than others, and this isn’t one of the better ones.  So, overall, Arrow Flash has bland visuals only spiced up with some wavy backgrounds, a good soundtrack, mediocre and sometimes frustrating level designs, and average-at-best visuals.  The game has a few high points, but it’s definitely more bad than good.  Only play it if you really like shmups or find it for really cheap.  This game is available in collections and digital re-releases of Sega’s Genesis games.

Asterix and the Great Rescue – 1 player, password save.  Asterix and the Great Rescue is an average-at-best platformer published by Sega.  I liked the Asterix comics quite a bit as a kid, and have some of them I got as a kid in the late ’80s and the ’90s, but because of its general unpopularity in the US, very few Asterix games have released here.  Unfortunately, this isn’t one of the better ones.  It isn’t the worst either, but for the only Asterix game I own and one of the only ones with a US release, I was hoping for better.  But no, this is just one of Sega’s many average Western-made licensed platformers they released this generation.  It isn’t the worst of them, but is far from the best, either.  On the positive side, Asterix and the Great Rescue has decent graphics, you can play as either Asterix or Obelix, and the gameplay is sometimes okay.  I also like that it retells the story of one of the Asterix comic books.  It’s just bland and sometimes frustrating, as this game gets hard fast.  You need to attack enemies, not jump on them, to hurt them, and your attacks have very little range.  The controls needed work.  The level designs aren’t the best either; this is a European-developed game, and it shows in the game design.  While your goal in each level is to reach the magic potion at the end of the stage, there are some puzzle elements here to mix up the usual jumping and hitting.  You have to use magic powers in certain places in order to progress.  You’ll just need to figure this out, the game doesn’t give any hints about what you should do.  Up+C switches powers, and then C uses one; this is important to know.  It’d have been nice to see something introducing the powers and such, as a more modern game would do.  Otherwise, the level designs here are bland and generic.  The backgrounds and enemies are inspired by the comic, but the game looks only okay, visually.  It’s average stuff, overall.  The game is also kind of slow and boring, as Asterix and Obelix move slowly and you can’t run.  I do like that the game has a password system, though, it does have that going for it at least.  The sprite work is also nice and looks like the cartoon, and the game does provide at some challenge at times.  But even as an Asterix and Genesis fan, I can’t recommend Asterix and the Great Rescue; it just isn’t all that fun, and seems to have been made on a budget.  This is a below-average platformer I can’t really recommend except maybe to series fans, and even there, you can do better.  This is far from an awful game and can be moderately entertaining as you try to figure out how to get through each stage, memorize the obstacles and jumps, and learn where to use the powers, but still, you can do much better and I lost interest a few levels in to the game and never went back.

Atomic Runner – 1 player.  Atomic Runner is a pretty good Data East game based on the arcade game Chelnov.  I did a review of this game several years back, and it’s quite good!  Atomic Runner is pretty much an auto-scrolling run & gun, so it feels part platform-shooter like Contra, and part shmup because the screen is always moving.  The game takes a bit of getting used to, but the mix works well with a bit of practice.  The game controls quite well, looks good, and plays great.  This is a high-intensity game with nice, varied visuals, lots of enemies and challenges to face, and a good difficulty curve that is challenging but not too difficult, with practice.  I did eventually finish this game, and had great fun doing so.  Visually this Genesis version is in some ways improved over the arcade original thanks to some improved backgrounds.  I would say more, but just go read my full review!  This game shows how a platformer/shmup hybrid can work very well.  Atomic Runner is a great game I highly recommend.  Arcade port.

Batman: Revenge of the Joker – 1 player, password save.  Batman: Revenge of the Joker is a port of Sunsoft’s second NES Batman game, Batman: Return of the Joker.  Despite the name change, beyond a visual upgrade, not much of the actual game has changed.  Not only has not much changed, but in fact many people prefer the NES version of this game over the Genesis, though I only have this Genesis version myself.  This game is an okay platformer, average or a bit above average overall.  Maybe I like this game more than most, but I do like Revenge of the Joker.  This isn’t one of the best Batman games, for sure, but it isn’t bad either.  In the game you play as Batman of course, saving the day yet again.  The game is moderately long and pretty tough, so the password system is welcome and a big help.  I strongly prefer it when games don’t require you to replay the game from the beginning every time, so I like this.  The game has big graphics with large, well-defined characters, and looks good, though some signs of its NES roots do show in the game and level designs.  This is a straightforward game and your goal in every level is simply to move to the right along a fairly flat path until the level is over.  NES platformers more often than not only scroll in a single direction at a time because of hardware limitations, and this one is no exception.  Still, the game has solid, responsive controls, interesting challenges to work your way past, a solid difficulty level that challenges you as much as expected from a Sunsoft game, and some decent graphics and music even if they aren’t among the system’s best.  If you find the game for a reasonable price, absolutely pick it up.  Enhanced (?) port of the NES game Batman: Return of the Joker.

Battlemaster – 1 player, password save.  Battlemaster (aka Battle Master) is a somewhat complex action-RPG that I don’t know if I can recommend to anyone not playing the game in an emulator, because the passwords are up to 78, yes, seventy-eight, characters long.  That’s insane.  Besides that big problem though, there are some interesting things going on here.  This is a quite obscure and flawed game and I got it knowing nothing about the game.  Battlemaster is clearly a port of a computer game, and I’m sure the computer version is better; it probably doesn’t have 78-character passwords for a save file, and the framerate is surely higher than the unacceptably low, single-digit-framerate slog of the Genesis version.  This is an ambitious game and I want to like it, but it’s just so flawed on consoles that I can’t quite.  Still, Battlemaster is an interesting game with some strengths.  The game is a top-down action-RPG.  You are on a quest to save the land from evil, of course.  First, you choose a class, either fighter, mage, thief, or merchant.  You can also choose a race, human, elf, dwarf, or orc.  Each race and class combo is a preset character (and they are all male), but still, you can choose which one you want.  Each class does play differently, so your choice matters.  Fighter class characters start out alone, but the other three will have AI-controlled companions along with you, for instance.  All classes will get more followers as you progress, though.  Stats and abilities vary as well, though all classes have the same basic controls, with melee and ranged attack buttons for your hero.  Your quest will be long and I’ve never gotten too far into it, but there is a large world to explore as you progress.  The game is made up of a long sequence of areas in a larger world.  As you reach new areas you can travel between them from the pause menu if you want, or need, to revisit earlier parts of the game.

Survival will be difficult and unlikely, however, because the levels are full of powerful monsters and more than a few traps, and you can’t easily save your progress.  Getting anywhere in this game will require a lot of memorization and skill; you’ll die over and over and be sent back to the start again and again.  Enemies are tough and can be numerous, those traps will kill, and your AI companions, if you have them, are hopelessly stupid. and are often nearly useless, if you can even keep them on screen.  There are formation options, but they get stuck on things CONSTANTLY.  Pathfinding is a huge problem here.  The graphics aren’t the best either, because you play the game in a fairly small window.  I like the graphics and art design, it’s got nice-looking fantasy art, but everything is small and the game runs incredibly slowly.  Also, there is a large border around the screen, and a good 40% of the right side is taken up with a large interface showing your characters’ health, mana, inventory, and such.  I really wish I could see farther, it’d be great.  The game also gives you no direction about where you should be going in each of the levels, leading to a lot of aimless meandering in monster-filled wilderness.  While I like action-RPGs, I don’t like randomly wandering around in games not knowing what I should be doing, and this game has a lot of that.  The high difficulty level and frustrating party manipulation are big problems as well.  This gmae has a large initial learning curve that I haven’t gotten over yet, though I do kind of want to someday.  Few people online seem to have given this game much of a chance, and with its extreme challenge, awful pathfinding, 78-character passwords to save your progress, and slow gameplay it’s not hard to see why.  Still, with time perhaps this game gets good; I’ll have to give it a more serious try sometime.  There is a very nice guide to the game on GameFAQs that really is required reading for anyone who wants to figure out this game.  Despite everything, I like some of what I see while playing the game.  Amiga port also available on Atari ST and DOS PC.  Any of the computer versions are probably much better than this one.

Battle Squadron – 2 player simultaneous.  Battle Squadron is a bad vertical-scrolling shmup.  This EA release is a port of a European Amiga game, and its European computer roots are clear as soon as you look at the game.  That isn’t the problem, though; Euro-shmups aren’t always great, but some are very good, such as Firepower 2000/Mega SWIV.  This game, sadly, is not any good at all.  Battle Squadron looks okay in that classic European Amiga style, but the graphics are drab and mediocre.  The controls have issues too, with sometimes questionable hit detection and a too-slow ship speed.  The game also has an obnoxiously high difficulty level, invisible enemies at times, and more.  Yes, Battle Squadron makes a bad first impression, and it doesn’t get better with time.  People who like overly difficult shmups might like this, but they could just play a better game instead, so I don’t know if this game is for anyone other than huge Euroshmup fans.  This game has a lot of issues that make it as bad as it is.  Again your ship is too slow; obstacles (those walls in the sub-levels particularly) can be hard to predict and avoid, and enemies can shoot at you from behind you off the screen after they have flown past so you will constantly die from bullets you never saw if you are near the bottom of the screen; you die in one hit and dodging the bullets, even at the easiest setting, is difficult when enemies and bullets always fly straight at you without any hint of bullet-patterns to dodge; enemies take many hits to kill particualrly on lower weapon-power levels and, of course, you lose a weapon power level when you die, of course while, again, you die in one hit; there is only one music track that plays during gameplay and it’s only average; and more.  It’s bad.

For positives the game does have two player co-op and difficulty settings, but it isn’t any better with two people than it is with one, so just play a better game instead.  Oddly, instead of regular difficulty settings, in Battle Squadron you can choose your lives and continues and how many and how fast enemy bullets are.  Normal difficulty settings might have been better, this feels like they couldn’t decide how to make the game — fast bullets, or slow?  Who knows, just put it in the options… it doesn’t really work.  It’s a very hard game on any setting, though; even on the easiest setting I’ve never gotten too far into this somewhat short game.  Oh, the game does have a somewhat unique level setup.  There is one main level, with multiple sub-levels scattered along it.  The main level will loop if you get far enough, but you’ll need to go into those sub-levels to beat the game and they are tough.  It’s really not worth it.  Overall, Battle Squadron is a bad game that only masochistic Euroshmup fans might enjoy.  I’m not one; Battle Squadron is probably one of the worst Genesis games I own, in my opinion.  Amiga port; apparently the Amiga version is a bit better, with mouse controls and better visuals.

Battletoads / Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team – 2 player simultaneous.  Battletoads Double Dragon is, really, the second full Battletoads game.  Developed by Rare, the same team as the Battletoads games, the “Double Dragon” side of this game really amounts to only some cameos.  I don’t mind this myself, as I like Rare’s games a lot more than Technos’s Double Dragon series.  The first Battletoads is a great classic, stratospheric difficulty level or no.  This sequel is still pretty good, but I think I like the first game more.  Battletoads Double Dragon is a beat ’em up.  The Toads, along with Billy and Jimmy, are off to stop the Dark Queen and the Double Dragon villains, who have teamed up.  The five heroes set off for the Dark Queen’s spaceship, to destroy it from the inside, and once they arrive the game begins.  The first Battletoads has a great deal of level variety, but this sequel has much less; most stages are about you beating things up, usually from an isometric perspective but sometimes side-scrolling.  It’s disappointing that Battletoads’ interesting variety of stages has been replaced with a much more traditional beat ’em up style, but the first two levels of Battletoads were surely the most popular ones, so Rare probably decided to focus the sequel more on that.  It was an understandable choice, but it does result in a somewhat less interesting and unique game.  At least the beat ’em up action keeps changing settings and styles, so for a beat ’em up it is pretty good, but the first game was more.

This game has a lot fewer levels than the first game as well, and a much lower difficulty level.  The game is entirely set on a large spaceship, so there isn’t as much setting variety as in the first game either.  This is still a hard game, make no mistake, and I haven’t finished it, but I have gotten farther in this game than I have in NES Battletoads.  The one Turbo Tunnel-style dodging stage is a LOT easier than the levels of this style in the NES game, for better or worse, and afterwards the game returns to more beat ’em up action.  This is a fun beat ’em up though, with similar gameplay to the first level of Battletoads, but with some new additions and a lot more game like that to play.  The enemies come from both franchises, and there are plenty of amusing touches thrown in as you progress; Rare’s sense of humor is present in this game, and it can be amusing.  The Toads’ reaction faces are great, for example.  Visually, though, the game looks only okay.  Despite releasing in 1993 Battletoads Double Dragon was a NES game first, you see, and the SNES and Genesis versions are just ports.  As a result the sprites are quite small and unimpressive compared to those in most Genesis or SNES-exclusive beat ’em ups.  The last SNES Battletoads game looks a lot better than this one, for example, because it wasn’t first designed for a last-gen system.  Despite these issues though, Battletoads Double Dragon is a pretty good game.  This was the first Battletoads game I actually owned; I didn’t own the Game Boy Battletoads games in the ’90s, never have had either for SNES, and got this game in ’06 or ’07 not too long after I got a Genesis.  Battletoads Double Dragon is not the Battletoads game most people think of when they think of the franchise, but it is a good, fun beat ’em up with some varied action, fun combat, a fair challenge, and good two player co-op action.  This is a good game worth playing.  Also on NES and SNES; I think the SNES version might be the most highly regarded?  This version looks fine as well, though, so get any version really.  Note that probably thanks to licensing reasons this game has never been re-released for digital download on any platform, so if you want it you need to buy the now somewhat overpriced cart releases.

Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Quest – 1 player.  Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Quest is a below average platformer with some simple adventure game elements.  Sunsoft may have been one of the greats of the NES era, but they fell fast after that, and this not-so-good Western-developed licensed platformer that they published is an example of that.  This game has good, well-drawn graphics that look a lot like the movie, but the gameplay isn’t as good as the visuals.  Belle’s Quest is a bit interesting as a Disney-licensed platformer where you actually play as the female lead from the movie, a quite rare thing before the ’00s outside of The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas games, but the tedious, bland gameplay more than makes up for that, unfortunately.  Belle’s Quest is a short game, but most players probably won’t keep playing through to the end, and they aren’t missing much.  The controls are only okay, and I’m never sure when I’m going to take a hit or avoid it, for one.  So, in Belle’s Quest, you play as Belle.  There are four levels in this game that bring you through some parts of the movie, with a few minigames along the way.  Naturally everything is expanded on versus the film; even a game this short can’t just retell the movie just as it was.  A good chunk of this game occurs in the earlier parts of the movie, from before Belle meets the Beast, though some is later.  Combine this game with the below Beast game and you get a videogame retelling of most of the film, albeit a very mediocre one; it really feels like the two should be one game, but they were split in two in order to make more money by selling the game twice.  Still, the game does have good graphics.  The cutscenes, both between levels and occasionally during them, look great, as close to  the movie as the Genesis can do, and the ingame graphics are well drawn.  They repeat constantly in most levels, but what little there is looks good.  On the subject of repetition, though, both games reuse a LOT of the same background and enemy sprites, and the soundtrack is also mostly identical in both games, so expect very little difference between the two.

The main difference between the two games is that Belle’s game is more of a simple adventure/exploration game, while Beasts’s is an action-platformer.  Belle cannot attack, so you just have to jump or duck to avoid enemies when you see them.  It’s not much fun, though there aren’t huge numbers of enemies at once so it is doable.  Belle has eight health per life, and it’s plenty.  This game is only moderately challenging at best, but the designers tried to make up for how rarely you will die most of the time with things like annoying mazes and poorly-explained (though very simple) puzzles.  Of the fours levels, the first is the best; it’s set in Belle’s home village.  This level has some conversations with the villagers, a simple stealth mechanic as you avoid Gaston, a minigame, and some simple conversation puzzles.  It’s somewhat fun.  The rest of the game isn’t as good, sadly.  The second level is an annoying maze in the forest; the third, a long and somewhat tedious level where you explore the Beast’s mansion; and the last, a short butt tough trip through a snowy forest on horseback.  Several more minigames are scattered through the game.  At the end there is no final boss fight against Gaston, play the other game for that.  This game does have the more complete ending, though.  Overall, Belle’s Quest is below average but not awful.  The game is far too simple and repetitive; after the first level most of the adventure elements are lost in favor of maze-wandering and the final action sequence; you can’t fight back against enemies; and the third level drags on for longer than it should.  The repetitive and boring stages are a big problem in both of these games.  Still, playing a classic Disney-license action game where you play as Belle is interesting; this is the only such game from the ’90s.  But sadly, that and the visuals really are the only positives here.  I can’t really recommend Belle’s Quest, though big Disney fans might want to check it out.  Just don’t expect it to be all that good, or fun.

Beauty and the Beast: Roar of the Beast – 1 player.  This is the other one of Sunsoft’s two Genesis-exclusive Beauty and the Beast games.  This time you play as the Beast, and gameplay is much more actioney.  This might sound better than the slow and boring Belle game, but actually this game is probably even worse, with its too-high difficulty level the biggest issue.  First, the visuals and sound mostly are the same as the other game.  Backgrounds are again unbelievably repetitive.  The first hallway goes on for minutes, looping the same 1 1/2 screens worth of background over and over and over!  Little is new here, it’s just rearranged for the new game style.  Yes, that first-area background is also seen in Belle’s game.  It’s nicely drawn, but kind of awful when it’s all you are looking at it for so long.  Now, the Beast can actually attack, so this is a faster-paced game with plenty of enemies to fight.  It’s got combat, instead of mazes.  Unfortunately, it’s not good combat.  The controls are not the most responsive, the Beast’s attack range is short, and enemy hitboxes are weird so it’s hard to tell when you will hit an enemy and when you will be hit.  And you can’t take many hits before you go down; only four, each with half-hits, though some enemies do a full hit of damage instead of just a half.  The Beast will go down a lot faster than Belle does in her game, basically; this seems backwards.

This game can be a challenge, but not for the right reasons.  The Beast’s controls a lot like Belle, so controls are not great.  This is a bigger problem in an action game; it could use tight, precise controls but doens’t really have them.  Dealing with the Beast’s large hitbox is also frustrating, when faced with never-ending waves of small, fast-moving enemies.  Memorization is key; expect to get Game Overs regularly and have to start again from the beginning.  You only get one continue in this game.  I hate that stuff.  Unlike Belle’s Quest this game has bosses as well, and they’re tough.  Memorization will get you through the levels eventually, but the bosses will require more work, and I don’t really want to do that, not with a game as lacking in fun as this one is.  Roar of the Beast is certainly beatable, but it’s too hard for its own good; I can’t see many children sticking with this one long enough to beat it, unless they had nothing better to play.  The ending is lacking, too — it ends right after you beat the final boss, pretty much, lacking the final scenes of Belle’s game.  At least there is a final boss, though, of course, though I don’t know if I’ll ever actually try to beat it; I saw the ending by watching it on Youtube.  Roar of the Beast is a frustrating game probably not worth the effort.  Overall, while I like the visuals and concept of these two games, both of them are below-average disappointments not really worth playing.   If you are going to play one, though, stick with Belle’s Quest.  The much easier difficulty level makes that one more fun to play than this one.  I got this game expecting bad things, becuase I already had Belle’s Quest, but thanks to the controls and enemy patterns, it’s worse than I thought it would be.  Overall, Belle’s Quest and Roar of the Beast are nice-looking games whose graphical promise is lost in a sea of repetition, iffy controls, and frustration.

Beyond Oasis – 1 player, battery save to cartridge, 6-button controller supported.  Beyond Oasis is a quite good top-down action-RPG with a good combat system and beautiful, well-animated graphics.  This game is one of the Genesis’s three good Zelda-esque action-RPGs, along with Landstalker and Crusader of Centy.  Of the three Landstalker is my favorite, but all three are very good games absolutely worth playing.  In this game you play as an Arabian prince, off to save the kingdom.  Your quest won’t be a particularly long one, but it’s a lot of fun along the way so I don’t mind the length.  The great gameplay and fantastic graphics are more than enough to make Beyond Oasis a must-play for any Zelda fan regardless of length.  This is one of those games that shows how good Genesis graphics can get.  The game is set in an anime-esque fantasy Arabia with magic and genies, and as you progress your hero will gather together various magical powers, each tied to a genie.  It’s a great setting, and one more games outside of the Prince of Persia series could use.  The blue genie has water powers, red for fire, and such; unoriginal, but it works.  The magical genie summons look cool, too, and will follow you around once summoned.  You have separate inventories for weapons and healing items.  With a 6-button controller, buttons X, Y, and Z give direct access to the overworld map screen and both inventories; it’s helpful.  You can save at any time in the overworld on the pause menu, but you can’t save in a dungeon.  More original for the time is the combat system.  While you can hack and slash, Beyond Oasis has a variety of weapons, each with different moves and abilities.  Only the default weapon has infinite uses, while the others are limited-use, but you get enough of them so that you should always have some when needed.  Combat is fluid, well animated, and great fun, and is probably more complex than combat in other games like this in the 4th generation.  This game plays just as well as it looks.

The game isn’t just about combat, though.  Like Zelda, Beyond Oasis has exploration and puzzle-solving elements as well as fighting.  There isn’t as much wandering around an overworld as there would be in a Zelda game, however; this game is more linear.  The style works, though, and keeps the game moving.  There is still a fair amount of exploration, though, and the puzzle elements are well done.  Some combat is simple ‘kill the enemies’ stuff, but other times you will have to use magic powers or special weapons in the right place in order to progress.  What you need to do isn’t always obvious, so thought is required.  It helps that it’s always clear where you should be, though, so at least you know what area to look in to solve the current puzzle.  This is a fairly fast-paced game that is a lot of fun to play.  Overall, Beyond Oasis is a beautiful-looking game with fun, varied combat, decent puzzles, and more.  The Arabian setting and magic add to the game as well.  This is a great game I highly recommend.  The game also has a sequel on the Saturn, Legend of Oasis, but I haven’t played that game yet, sadly.  (Defenders of Oasis on Game Gear is actually an entirely unrelated traditional RPG that Sega tacked the name onto for Western release.)  This game is available in collections and digital re-releases of Sega’s Genesis games.

Bio-Hazard Battle – 2 player simultaneous.  Bio-Hazard Battle is a fairly good horizontal shmup made by Sega.  It’s actually Sega’s only internally-developed shmup for the Genesis, surprisingly enough.  The fantastic soundtrack and two player co-op play might be the strongest points about this game.  The graphics don’t quite match up to the music, and the game has some balance issues, but still, it is mostly good.  In Bio Hazard Battle, which was titled “Crying” in Japan, you can choose to play as any of four different bug-styled ships.  Two have one set of weapons, and the other two a diffrent one.  The homing laser one pair of ships has seems to be by far the best weapon though, so there’s no reason to choose the other two ships once you know which ones have the homing laser.  The games’ weird, unique visual theme extends through the game, though the graphics in general are only good, not great; the Genesis can do better than this.  Some of the enemies do look pretty cool, though.  You fight lots of strange bug enemies.  Gameplay here is fairly simple, too.  Fly to the right, dodge enemy fire and obstacles, pick up powerups, and shoot everything; that’s pretty much it.  This game does not have the depth of a Gradius or R-Type, it is a simpler game.  The game is plenty challenging, though.  Enemies are numerous, bosses can be tough, and the game does have walls that will kill you instantly.  Getting past the bosses in this game will take a lot of practice and repeat play, but for some reason I mind this less in shmups than I do in, say, platformers.  This game is great fun, and while I haven’t beaten it, it’s something I come back to fairly regularly.  Flying along with either one player or two and blasting baddies with that homing laser is great.  And yes, I do particularly love the games’ fantastic atmospheric-electronic-music soundtrack.  It’s really good.  This game is available in collections and digital re-releases of Sega’s Genesis games.

Blades of Vengeance  – 2 player simultaneous.  Blades of Vengeance is a great sidescrolling action-platformer game published by EA and developed by Beam Software.  EA published five fantasy action-platformers on the Genesis, and of them this is the best one.  Beyond that, the game is probably the best game EA released for the Genesis!  Yes, Blades of Vengeance is a fantastic and under-rated classic.  This game has two player co-op, three playable characters, great graphics and music, and a more complex combat system than many other games of this kind of the time.  The key to combat in Blades of Vengeance is learning the blocking system.  While you crouch you block and are invulnerable to any attacks coming at you from the direction you are facing.  Enemies will often be attacking from both directions, though, or will move past you, so it can be tricky to avoid taking damage unless you are careful.  And you’ll need to be careful, because this game is quite difficult and unforgiving.  There are eight long levels in Blades of Vengeance, each has a boss at the end, and you have limited lives and continues and no saving.  Repeat play and memorization are the only way to make any progress.  Fortunately, the game is very fun to play and has a fair amount of variety, as well.  Each of the three characters, a female warrior, male warrior, or male mage, plays differently, so your choice of character really does matter.  There is also character progression partway through, as you get upgrades during the game that change your outfit and weapon; the female warrior gets a ranged weapon when she updates, most notably.  She is the default and probably best character, while the mage is the hardest one to play as.  The male warrior is tougher to play as because he never gets a ranged attack.  Oh, yes, the female character is very scantily clad, but at least the male warrior is also wearing little beyond a Conan-like loincloth, and the costume upgrades add a lot more clothing, even for the female character, so that is nice.  Character, enemy, and background graphics are all great and show off the Genesis’s power very well.

One great thing about this game are the great level designs.  Levels are not just straight corridors, but are large, fairly complex areas.  Levels are mostly a linear path, but there are many side areas along the way.  Levels are loaded with traps and secrets, so while you need to be careful as you wander around, exploration is very rewarding.  There is a fair amount of variety between levels as well, though the later levels have a few too many somewhat similar-looking castles.  Still, the graphics are great.  The game does keep introducing new enemies though, which get trickier to deal with as you go along.  Those green lizardmen that first appear well into the game are tough!  I love the amount of strategy this game requires; each enemy and boss requires learning something new, and even once you know what to do, executing on that is tough.  Blades of Vengeance is a difficult game in execution as well as in strategy, and I love that about the game.  The soundtrack is really good as well.  This game does not use that generic Gems Genesis music-making software that a lot of third-party games used, and instead has great music that gets a lot out of the Genesis audio chip.  Overall, Blades of Vengeance is a very good, top-quality game with good graphics and music, great gameplay with more strategy in its combat than most Genesis games, good level designs loaded with stuff to find, and more.  Very highly recommended!  Great game.

Blockout – 2 player simultaneous.  Blockout is a Genesis version of the 3d-well Tetris game that released on computers at some point in the ’80s.  I remember disliking Blockout, or Blockout clones, for the PC back in the early ’90s, and I still definitely prefer regular 2d Tetris.  Still, Blockout is an interesting game with some awesomely early ’90s cover art and very challenging gameplay.  This is definitely a game which requires a lot of strategy to not be terrible at.  The basic concept here is Tetris, but in 3d.  The gameplay area is a well-like pit made up of many levels.  Pieces start at the top, and drop down from there one level at a time.  You can choose how many levels deep the well is in the game options, to affect the difficulty, but the default is about ten, so the well in this gmae usually has a lot more levels than that in Nintendo’s 3-D Tetris for the Virtual Boy, a game clearly inspired by this one.  I like 3-D Tetris more than Blockout, but this game is the original.  Pieces are 3d Tetris-like groups of cubes.  They will vanish if you fill a whole layer of the well with blocks.  It is vital to try to keep the well as empty as possible at all times, because this game, unlike 3-D Tetris, does not have a display at the side showing what is in each level of the well.  Instead, you’ll just have to try to remember what’s underneath whatever block is on top.  It’s not great; Blockout can seem easy and slow as long as you can keep the field mostly empty, but as soon as things start to fill, it’ll go wrong fast, probably more so than in regular 2d Tetris.  The 3-d element makes this kind of game harder to play than a 2d puzzle game, but it is an interesting challenge.

Visually, Blockout looks fairly plain.  The cover may be an awesome early ’90s group of colorful blocks, but the game itself looks fairly plain.  Blocks are wireframes until they hit ground, when they turn solid-colored.  The field is a wireframe well on a black background, nothing fancy.  Music is okay, but not great.  This game looks like the early-ish release that it is, and has a minimal graphical presentation.  There aren’t a lot of modes and options either, beyond choices for the well’s size, and some basic 1 player infinite or 2 player versus modes.  The controls are somewhat complex as well.  The Genesis only has three buttons and one d-pad, so the controls here are a bit harder to get used to than 3-D Tetris for the VB, which uses both d-pads and all four face and shoulder buttons that system has. Each face button modifies what the d-pad does.  Without a button, you move the block around the current level of the well.  Beyond that, you’ve got to remember which button rotates the block vertically, which rotates it horizontally, and which spins it.  It’s easy to forget which button does which.  Still, Blockout is an interesting game that is worth a look if you like puzzle games.  I wasn’t sure if it would be worth getting considering my general dislike for 3d-well Tetris, but when I saw the great cover I couldn’t resist, and it was a good choice.  The game may not have great visuals or sound, the controls are confusing, and I miss VB 3-D Tetris’s diagram showing what is on each level of the well because that makes this kind of game much easier, but still, Blockout for the Genesis is a good puzzle game worth a try if you like the genre.  I do recommend 3-D Tetris for the VB to anyone with one of those systems, it’s the better game, but Blockout, the game which inspired it, is also a decent game.  This game is a serious mental challenge which can be fun to face.  Arcade port also released on the Lynx and numerous computer platforms — PC, Amiga, Atari ST, C64, Apple IIGS, Mac, and PC-9801.

Boogerman: A Pick & Flick Adventure – 1 player, password save.  Boogerman is a platformer by Interplay.  The game mostly tried to sell itself based on its gross snot, boogers, and fart-focused character and world design, but underneath that extremely juvenile aesthetic is, in fact, a good platformer.  The gameplay is fairly standard, but it’s well-made and plays well.  This isn’t a game I played in the ’90s and once I got classic consoles the theme did not interest me, but when I learned that the game runs in the The Lost Vikings engine, I wanted to try it; The Lost Vikings is a game I like a lot.  I got this game last year, and it did not disappoint.  Boogerman really is pretty good!  Boogerman may be a standard 4th-gen Western platformer, but it’s better than most such games.  Sure, this isn’t the best game, but it is good.  This game didn’t need the ridiculous theme, it’d have been good with any visuals.  I do kind of like how green everything in this game is, though, since that is my favorite color.

So, Boogerman is a game about a middle-aged overweight eccentric millionaire who has a secret identity, Boogerman.  He’s investigating a mad scientists’ machine, when he sneezes on it and gets pulled into a portal!  Here the game begins,  You can jump on enemies, but also have projectile weapons.  The main one is a booger flick, and there is also a powerful belch attack you can charge up.  Yes, this game is a juvenile comedy for sure, but while some things are just juvenile, I do like Boogerman’s character; he is well-drawn and funny.  I like his big grin as he runs around.  So yeah, even someone like me who has never really liked potty humor much can find something to like here.  Enemies are also well-drawn and amusing looking.  Backgrounds don’t look quite as nice as the sprites, but they are okay, at least.  The good comic-book style art design helps a lot here; Boogerman is a somewhat nice-looking game, visual themes aside.  But no, what makes Boogerman good isn’t the graphics or theme, though, it’s the gameplay, controls, and level designs.  Interplay used a good engine for this game, which means the game controls well.  Boogerman has tight, responsive controls.  You do need to be careful when jumping on enemies because if you miss you will take damage, but that’s where the ranged attacks come in handy.  Also you can take several hits, so the game doesn’t have one hit deaths.  Boogerman’s cape is his life meter; it changes colors with each hit.

The level designers did good work as well.  This game does have more complex level designs than some games, so levels are not just a straight path, but it’s not too hard to figure out, and the password system is a big help as well so once you do beat a level you don’t have to play it again.  While the game does have nice animation this isn’t a game in the Prince of Persia or Aladdin schools of highly animated platformers, just a conventional one with a silly theme, but I like this kind of game better than those, most of the time.  The game also doesn’t have have blind jumps, avoiding one of the major faults of some of the major third-party platformers of the time.  The game has large levels to explore, lots of enemies to fight, many items to find scattered all around, and such, as usual.  Toilets and giant noses act as warps, and outhouses are checkpoints.   Exploring the levels is fun, as you try to find stuff and the way to the next stage.  Enemies you kill do stay dead, so if you backtrack to look for stuff you won’t have to fight enemies again, thankfully.  It is fun to explore the levels.  Graphics aside this may sound like a lot of 4th-gen platformers, but Boogerman is better-designed than most, with tight, precise controls and good level designs backing up its solid visuals.  So yes, I recommend Boogerman.  This isn’t just some grossout game, it is a good game platformer fans should pick up.  Also available on SNES.  The game has been re-released on Wii Virtual Console (Genesis version).

Bubba ‘n’ Stix – 1 player, password save.  Bubba ‘n’ Stix is a side-scrolling platform-puzzle game by Core Design.  It’s sort of a platformer crossed with an adventure game, albeit one with a very limited inventory.  This is a short but tricky game with fairly nice visuals, a unique and fun concept, and some good puzzles.  The game has good graphics with a nice cartoony art style.  You play as Bubba, a hickish boy zookeeper wearing a backwards baseball cap and overalls (with no shirt) who was abducted by aliens and found himself on an alien planet, where the game begins.  He also found an alien which sort of looks like a stick, called Stix.  You work together in this game.  While this game does have some platforming, in that you can jump and thre are platforms to jump on,you can’t jump on enemies; that will hurt.  You have to hit them with Stix, instead.  However, most of the challenge, and gameplay, in this game comes from trying to figure out the puzzles that keep you from moving forward in each stage, not from combat or platforming.  Your main form of interaction is using Stix.  You can swing or toss him at enemies, put him in holes in order to make a step to get up a cliff with, and more; you will have to figure out more uses for Stix as you go.  This may be a short game if you know what to do, but really, it’s only short if you figure out the puzzles quickly.  Figuring out what to do can be tricky, but that’s the whole point of the game, of course.  The game will give you a password before each of the five levels.  I like the bright, colorful cartoon graphics.  Bubba looks appropriately silly, and things like trees with eyes that follow you while your back is turned are amusing as well.  There’s some nice animation here.  This game can be frustrating though, when you’re stuck and have no idea what to do to proceed.  Still, Bubba n Stix is mostly good.  The game is short and sometimes frustrating, but it is also good-looking and well animated, and the puzzles are more good than bad.  I do wish that there was more content in this game, but there is enough here to make this worth getting for sure if you like puzzle games.  Check it out.  Also released on Amiga and Amiga CD32, though I think the Genesis version came first.

Bubsy II – 1 player.  Bubsy II was the first Bubsy game I got, and it definitely did not exactly make me want to like this series.  Bubsy II is a poor platformer much more frustrating with fun.  With a health bar, passwords, and such maybe it could be alright, but it doesn’t have those things.  Bubsy is one of those games ‘inspired’ by Sonic, but while it has Sonic’s speed, it doesn’t have Sonic’s great level designs, gameplay, graphics, or much of anything else.  I like large platformer levels well enough, but it’s no fun when every time I get hit even once you die and get sent back to the last checkpoint, and it’s hard to avoid taking hits when you run anywhere near as fast as you can in this game.  But moving around slowly isn’t any fun either, so really there is no good solution here other than to not play this game.  And that’s what I recommend, not playing this game.  Bubsy II has mediocre-at-best controls, sometimes annoying level designs, random licensing tossed in (Bubsy uses Nerf guns), a high difficulty level, and little fun or rewarding gameplay to be found.  Bubsy II is a pretty bad game; it is, overall, a failure.  Don’t bother with this.  I should note, some people say the first Bubsy is a better game than this one, but this one is so bad that it doesn’t make me want to try that one.  Oddly enough though, I do like the much-despised Bubsy 3D for the PS1.  Yes, really.  Go figure.  Also on SNES and Game Boy.

Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble – 1 player.  Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble is a Western-made platformer published by Sega in 1996.  You play as Bugs Bunny, as the name suggests, playing through some of his more famous cartoons from the great Looney Tunes series.  Looney Tunes is the best animated series ever, so I’ve wanted to try all of the Looney Tunes games.  This game has nice graphics, but the gameplay has issues and is a bit below average.  Even so, I do like it more than Sunsoft’s also mediocre SNES Bugs Bunny game.  But as a 1996 game, yes, this is a fairly late release for the Genesis.  The game looks it; Double Trouble has pretty good graphics with some nice pre-rendered art with large, detailed sprites, as fitting the Donkey Kong Country-inspired style of the time.  While the game plays like a standard platformer, your goal isn’t just to run to the right.  Instead, each level has a mission you must accomplish.  Pay attention to the briefing text scrolling by at the bottom of the level-select screen, because it tells you what you’ll need to do.  You get two levels to choose from at first, and have to beat both of them before you unlock the next group of stages.  In the first level for instance, you have to stay just ahead of Daffy Duck, luring him to run past all of the signs so he flips them from rabbit symbols to duck symbols, as in the classic cartoon where Bugs is turning Rabbit Season into Duck Season to save himself from Elmer.  You’ve got a time limit and if you take too long Elmer will shoot you, but if you keep moving these stages aren’t too hard once you learn them.

There are several stages with each basic level concept, but each cartoon has its own goals.  In the other starting level, you need to jump off of a bull from the bullfighting cartoon in order to grab bombs and land them on piles of wood, to blow them up and make holes.  Then you go underground into some somewhat mazelike webs of tunnels, looking for items while avoiding lions.  I like the games’ variety, but the controls and hit detection are an issue; with large sprites and many obstacles, hits often feel hard to avoid, and Bugs’ controls are a bit loose and slippery.  Daffy is always right on top of you in the first level, for instance, and avoiding those lions isn’t easy either.  You do have a health bar, but it will drain fast.  The game also has limited lives and continues and no saving, though, so repeat play will be required.  I wish it wasn’t; this game is okay, but not fun enough to make me want to play it over and over in order to get to the later stages.  Ah well.   Still, while it is below average, this game isn’t all bad.  It is definitely worth a look for Looney Tunes fans, and maybe platformer fans in general if you find it cheap and want a flawed platformer with more variety than most of the time.  Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble isn’t great, but it is an okay C-grade game some people will enjoy.  Also on Game Gear.  I got that version first; it’s very much like this one, but with very small graphics and some gameplay downgrades.  The Genesis version is better.

Burning Force – 1 player.  Burning Force is a pretty good Namco rail shooter.  You play as a future policewoman taking her computer-world test to join the force as a hover-bike police rider.  The test is five days long, and each day is made up of three stages.  First there are two normal stages, then a boss stage.  This is an early-ish release for the Genesis, but has pretty nice visuals for the time; the scaling looks better than Sega’s early rail shooters for the Genesis.  The game does have somewhat slow forward-movement speed and not the best draw distance, and those are surely part of why the game plays as well as it does.  After Burner or Space Harrier II on Genesis are much faster games, and struggle more as a result.  Also, unlike most rail shooters, in most of Burning Force you are stuck to the ground, jump-pads aside.  Those jump pads are nice, though.  You only take to the air in a plane for boss levels; the rest of the time you ride a ground-based futuristic hover-bike.  This is kind of unfortunate, but the game has a good amount of variety despite this, with lots of enemies, bullets, and obstacles to try to avoid.  Also, the simpler design does make the game easier to play and probably helps it run better on the hardware, too.  Burning Force is a bit choppy of course, as all scaler games on systems which don’t have hardware scaling are, but again the game runs reasonably well, so when you die it generally is your fault.  You do have multiple hits per life, and can choose how many lives per continue you get in the options.  You can also choose Easy or Hard difficulties.  Burning Force has okay but not great graphics.  It really looks like an ’80s arcade game and has that visual style to it.  Still, even if they don’t play better, Sega games like Space Harrier II do look better than this game.  This is a fun but fairly simple game.  You just ride forwards, shoot the baddies, and pick up weapon and point powerups when you need them while dodging enemy fire.  Levels do eventually get harder, but Burning Force isn’t as tough as Space Harrier.  Bosses are trickier, as each has a specific weak point you need to shoot at, but still this is a straightforward rail shooter.  It works, though, and is quite fun to play.  Burning Force is a good game worth playing.  Arcade port.

Below is a list of what I currently have for the Genesis after letter B.  I have 211 Genesis games, so this will take a while.  I’ll probably have more by the time I get to some of the later ones; I doubt I can get a full update of this up every week, but I’ll try.

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Castlevania: Bloodlines
Championship Pro-AM
Columns III: Revenge of Columns
Combat Cars
Comix Zone
Contra: Hard Corps
Cool Spot
Cosmic Spacehead
Crack Down
Crusader of Centy
Cyborg Justice
Death Duel
Decap Attack
Desert Demolition Starring Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote
Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf
Devilish: The Next Possession
DJ Boy
Duel, The: Test Drive II
Dynamite Headdy
El Viento
ESWAT: City Under Siege
Eternal Champions
Faery Tale Adventure
Fatal Rewind
Fire Shark
Forgotten Worlds
Fun ‘N’ Games
Gadget Twins
Garfield: Caught in the Act
Gauntlet IV
General Chaos
Genesis 6-Pak
Ghouls ‘N Ghosts
G-LOC: Air Battle
Golden Axe
Golden Axe II
Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude
Gunstar Heroes
HardBall ’94
Haunting Starring Polterguy
Izzy’s Quest for the Olympic Rings
James Pond 3: Operation Starfish
James Pond II: Codename RoboCod
James Pond: Underwater Agent
Jewel Master
Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns
Jungle Book, The
Jurassic Park
Kid Chameleon
King of the Monsters 2
Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole
Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters
Light Crusader
Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar
Lost Vikings, The
Lost World, The: Jurassic Park
Lotus Turbo Challenge
Lotus Turbo Challenge II
Magical Taruruuto-kun (J)
Mallet Legend’s Whac-A-Critter
Mario Andretti Racing
Marvel Land
Mazin Saga: Mutant Fighter
Mega Turrican
Mick & Mack: Global Gladiators
Micro Machines
NBA Jam (1994)
Newman Haas’ Indy Car featuring Nigel Mansell
NHL ’94
NHL ’96
NHL ’97
Ooze, The
OutRun 2019
P.T.O.: Pacific Theater of Operations
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star IV
Pier Solar and the Great Architects
Pirates! Gold
QuackShot Starring Donald Duck
Quad Challenge
Rambo III
Ranger-X (Ranger X)
Rastan Saga II
Red Zone
Road Rash
Road Rash 3: Tour de Force
Road Rash II
Rocket Knight Adventures
Rolling Thunder 2
Rolling Thunder 3
Samurai Shodown
Shadow Blasters
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
Shadowrun (1993)
Shining Force
Shining Force II
Shining in the Darkness
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Soldiers of Fortune
Sonic & Knuckles
Sonic 3D Blast
Sonic Spinball
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Sorcerian (J)
Space Harrier II
Spider-Man — X-Men: Arcade’s Revenge
Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage
Spider-Man and Venom: Separation Anxiety
Splatterhouse 2
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — Crossroads of Time
Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition
Streets of Rage 2
Summer Challenge
Sunset Riders
Super Battleship
Super Monaco GP
Super Monaco GP II, Arton Senna’s
Sword of Vermilion
Syd of Valis
Target Earth
Task Force Harrier EX
Taz in Escape from Mars
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Hyperstone Heist
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters
Thunder Force II
Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster’s Hidden Treasure
Tom and Jerry: Frantic Antics
Trouble Shooter
Twin Cobra
Tyrants: Fight Through Time
Ultimate Qix
Universal Soldier
Vectorman 2
Warrior of Rome II
Whip Rush
Winter Challenge
Wiz ‘n’ Liz
Wonder Boy in Monster World
World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck
Zero Tolerance
Zombies Ate My Neighbors

About Brian

Computer and video game lover
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