Friday, July 19, 2013

My favourite Mega Drive games

From a request on RLLMUK, my favourite ten games for the Mega Drive.

Virtua Racing
Three tracks, one car, minimum of content, £60. Utterly amazing and worth every penny. Magazines warned that it wasn't as good as the arcade game, but that didn't matter - the freedom it gave in terms of being able to steer any way around the circuit and not be shifted to the edge of the screen - it felt like the future.

Sonic 2
I won this in a competition in Mega. Release day came, and I had no Sonic 2. A week later, no Sonic 2. Another week, and I had a letter from the magazine apologising for the delay. I eventually got the game a month and a half after everyone had completed it - and yet I still love it. My favourite Sonic game, just.

Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition
When combined with the six-button pad (which I still feel is the epitome of digital pad design), this is the perfect fighter. I spent hundreds of hours on this; I even got a new Mega Drive (replacing my original Japanese model, as SC2 was region-locked) just to play it.

Far better than the SNES game. The rug ride level has one of the most memorable tunes in any game, and I can still remember where to go to get the genie's heads.

Micro Machines 96
A toss-up between this and MM2, but the courses on this are just a bit better. Amazing with four players.

Shining Force
I'd never played a strategy RPG before this; I've still not played one as good. An involving story, great characters and well-balanced gameplay.

NHL Hockey '93
I didn't play ice hockey. I'd never watched a match. None of my friends ever had either. Why, then, was this game so routinely played whenever we went to each others' houses? You felt so stylish grabbing the puck and slaloming up the pitch before shooting and scoring - later versions may have added four-player but they felt a bit too clunky and heavy.

Toe Jam and Earl
If you play it now, it feels so slow and awkward. How did I ever have the patience to complete it? I did, though, several times over. Special mention must go to level zero, where TJ&E get to bathe in a hot tub.

The Disney platformers were almost all great. I feel this is the best of the bunch, though Castle of Illusion is very close behind.  I don't think of Aladdin as a Disney platformer for some reason; it's a film licence.

The tenth place goes to Road Rash. And Desert Strike. And Populous. And Mega Lo Mania. And Mega Bomberman. And Thunderforce III.  Too many great games!

Oh, and the two-player mode of Lemmings was genius. 

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