What Were Your Favourite SEGA Mega Drive Games?

Image: Alex Walker (Kotaku)

About this time next month, Australians will be able to get their hands on a mini version of the Sega Mega Drive. And while the mini console is shipping with a pretty solid list — 42 games in all — all of that is for nothing if it doesn't have your favourite games.

But what are those?

I'll always remember Ecco The Dolphin, Road Rash and Afterburner 2, only because they were the first games I remember playing on the console. (For reasons unknown, and I didn't ask at the time, a courtesy aunt who lived across the road from my grandmother had a Sega Mega Drive setup in her bedroom that had Ghouls & Ghosts and Road Rash on it. I'm not sure if it was hers or one from a son that had since moved out of home.)

For reference, here's the full list of 42 games shipping on the Mega Drive Mini on September 19:

  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Ecco the Dolphin
  • Castlevania: The New Generation
  • Space Harrier 2
  • Shining Force
  • Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
  • ToeJam & Earl
  • Comix Zone
  • Altered Beast
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  • World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
  • Thunder Force III
  • Super Fantasy Zone
  • Shinobi III
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Earthworm Jim
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Probotector
  • Landstalker
  • Mega Man®: The Wily Wars
  • Street Fighter II’®: Special Champion Edition
  • Ghouls ‘n Ghosts®
  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  • The Story of Thor
  • Golden Axe
  • Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball
  • Vectorman
  • Wonder Boy in Monster World
  • Tetris®
  • Darius
  • Road Rash II
  • Strider
  • Virtua Fighter 2
  • Alisia Dragoon
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Monster World IV
  • Eternal Champions
  • Columns
  • Dynamite Headdy
  • Light Crusader

I still have no love for Ghouls & Ghosts, mind you. Fuck that game.

An interesting aside about the Sega Drive Mini is that it comes not only with Columns, SEGA's Tetris knock-off, but also the company's unreleased version of Tetris they tried to license back in the day. Apparently, SEGA wanted to license the game for the console and only realised halfway through development that they were buying fake rights to Tetris. The game never officially shipped, and work began on Columns instead, but you can play the dodgy-not-legal-in-the-'90s version of SEGA Tetris on the Mega Drive Mini.

Image: Alex Walker (Kotaku)

On the Mini, I can happily report that the controllers are really solid! I only got about half an hour with the console, which was enough time to play some Streets of Rage 2 and co-op World of Illusion. Both games played smoothly and didn't have any noticeable audio problems coming out of the TV, but it wasn't a full exhaustive test, and I wasn't allowed to take direct capture from the console for further analysis.

Still, the console stacks up so far. The cables are a good length, and there's a solid roster of games. I would have loved to see SEGA Rally Championship on there to relive those arcade days, but it's looking a much better buy than the Mini NES or the PlayStation Classic did at launch.

What's your favourite Sega Mega Drive game, and what games would you put on the console if you had the choice?


    What I want to know is why are they giving us the 3 button controllers when they are including Street Fighter II, Virtua Fighter and a few other games that more or less require the 6 button controller? Makes no sense.

      I've seen the promotional display boxes in a few stores recently and they all had 6 buttons, I hope that means we are.

        The Japanese "mega drive mini" model is shipping with 6 button controllers. But the North American "genesis mini" model is shipping with only 3 button controllers.

        Looking at the promo images on a site like JB HiFi: https://www.jbhifi.com.au/retro-gaming/sega-mega-drive-mini/362799/ it certainly looks like we are getting the 3 button controllers like NA. Here's the link to the EB listing, once again showing the 3 button controllers: https://www.ebgames.com.au/product/loot/217654-sega-mega-drive-mini

        Make sure you aren't getting confused with the crappy AtGames "flashback" consoles that actually did ship with 6 button controllers (one of their few redeeming features).

          Oh damn I think you're right, the boxes I saw were the Sonic anniversary AtGames ones.

          It also looks like official and non official 6 button Genisis Mini controllers are trending on various sites.
          So it looks like we might be looking at spending up to an extra $100.

          That doesn't seem cricket.

    Streets of Rage 3, Toughman Contest, Mickey Mania, Shadow Dancer, and X-Men were probably my faves on the Mega Drive back in the day.

    I'll omit the games that made it on to the console, i played a ridiculous amount of superman, batman returns and thunder force 2.
    However 7 year old me was convinced sonic 3 was the greatest (I had played the others from friends but I owned 3). Loved time trial mode, and I must of completed that game multiple times a week for at least a year.

    The Lion King was my jam. One school holidays I don't think I saw daylight until I'd thrown Scar of Pride Rock.

    The rise of the "mini" console has always bemused me as since its basically just a rebadged version of those asian multi game system knock ofs except its an "official product" =P

    As for topic at hand.. Phantasy Star IV has always been my jam

      I'm pretty sure those knockoff consoles don't have M2 doing the emulation, though :)

        Yeah there is a clear difference between the cheap knockoff boxes and the likes of the Nintendo Minis and the Mega Drive one

        The Mini Playstation might have been a pissweak effort of Sonys part, but the Nintendo ones at least are solid.

    I know it's pretty cliched and predictable, but Sonic 2 & 3 - for me - are about the pinnacle of Mega Drive software. Shout-outs to Phantasy Star IV and Dynamite Heddy as well.

    I know there's some legal bullcrap going on with Sonic 3, but it's criminal that it's been left off the last few MD compilations. That'd be like the Super Nintendo mini having Mario World but not Yoshi's Island.

    Oh well, if this is as easy to hack as the Nintendo and Sony minis, it will end up being a non-issue anyway.

    The best Megadrive game is Gunstar Heroes, no contest.

    Also, it's a grave crime that Alien Soldier isn't on the Megadrive Mini.

    Alien 3 and jurassic park were 2 favorites of mine.

    Man, that's a really great list. I can't think of much that I'd want that isn't on there.

      Ohnowait, yes I can...

      Captain America & the Avengers, Chaos Engine, Cyborg Justice, Desert Strike series, Flashback, Gain Ground, Haunting, Lemmings series, Mega Bomberman (one of the best in the franchise, frankly), Mortal Kombat 2, NBA Jam, Outlander, Populous/Powermonger, Quackshot, Road Rash 1 & 3 (2 was the best, though, good call if they could only have one), Shining Force 2, Sonic & Knuckles, Spiderman vs the Kingpin, Spiderman & Venom: Maximum Carnage, Syndicate, Taz-mania, TMNT: Hyperstone Heist + Tournament Fighters, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

        Taz-mania! Yes! Good call!

          Taz-mania was a terrible game lol. Interestingly, the SNES game was completely different, and was also terrible.

            Oh yeah, I never played Taz-Mania I was thinking of Taz in escape from mars actually, probably still a bad game but brings back memories lol

            Last edited 11/08/19 9:33 am

        How the hell is nba jam not on there!!!!?

          One of those very rare cases where the mega drive version was actually better than the SNES.

    Mickey and Donald: World of Illusion

    Flashback is still one of my favourite games, and it was the first game to convince me that games could be effective as a storytelling medium.

    I also always thought Chalken: The Forever Man was a really solid title that never got the love it deserved.

    Thunderforce IV was dope, as was the OG Micromachines.

    I have a soft spot for the Mega Drive version of Home Alone.

    it differed from the other games (and the movie) quite a bit.
    5 houses to protect, all sorts of crazy guns to put together (Sonic Wave gun is OP) It was awesome.

    Road Rash 2, Micro Machines, Gauntlet 4, Streets of Rage 2. I'd get this if I could put original cartridges in and play them as well, so instead I might go and buy an original Mega Drive off ebay or emulate the whole library

    The list is pretty good, ones i think are missing I'll list below!

    Micro Machines turbo tournament 2, with the ability to plug two additional controllers straight into the game cartridge!

    Cool spot had some pretty cool music, Lion king, atomic runner.

    Herzog Zwei, Quackshot, Revenge Of Shinobi, Sonic 1&2, Madden 92, Road Rash 2.. off the top of my head

      I would have given you 2 up votes if you had also said Shining Force.
      So many hours...

    I would love Desert and Jungle Strike as well as Shadowrun!

      Ew, not the Mega Drive Shadowrun, though... SNES all the way.

    Mortal Kombat
    Sonic 2 (best Sonic game in the entire series!)
    Road Rash II
    Toe Jam & Earl
    Mutant League Football
    Pete Sampras Tennis
    Andre Agassi Tennis
    Brian Lara Cricket (and also Shane Warne Cricket '96)
    Bulls vs Blazers and the NBA Playoffs
    Madden '93
    TEAM USA Basketball
    Shining Force 1 & 2
    Street Racer
    Street Fighter II CE (saved myself $$$$ buying it instead of pumping $1 coins at TimeZone!)

    Where is James Pond i remember playing this over my mates house when we were like 8 or something that game was incredible..... probably real bad now days but i remember it was awesome back then

      James pond is an awesome game. Though It's gathering dust on a shelf. I should give it another go one day.

    My take:

    TMNT Hyperstone Heist
    Inferior Turtles In Time but in adrenaline with faster gameplay, which makes it amazing.

    Yuu Yuu Hakusho, WCW Royal Rumble, WWF RAW
    Add in multitap for all-day 4-players brawl & broken friendships.

    Desert Strike
    In the era of Iraq War by NATO, this is one of the games that portray the atmosphere perfectly accurate.

    Soccer Fever Pitch
    Crazy football game with super kicks that makes you laugh a lot.

    SEGA Ultimate Soccer
    Another crazy fast-paced soccer game with unique physique & bonus Sonic cameo.

    Missing from the list for me are:
    Mortal Kombat (Did 3 ever release on Megadrive?)
    Desert Strike, Jungle Strike, Urban Strike
    NBA Jam
    Micro Machines

    It looks great, and Im wondering if its more powerful than the mini SNES, which is easy to add on extra emulators and ROMs so can be made into a multi console behemoth of retro gaming goodness.

    Assuming the wording of the article title is a test, here's my answers:

    'Were' my favourites:

    - all of them, even the ugly and audibly atrocious ones like Faery Tale Adventure

    Are still my favourites (given the 25 years of gaming evolution since then):

    - Street of Rage 2
    - All the Sonic platformers
    - Revenge of Shinobi, but only the first 5 or so levels
    - Micro Machines

    Games that I absolutely loved/was obsessed with at the time, but haven't held up:

    - Eternal Champions (too hard and/or too cheesable)
    - Landstalker (smooth and pretty but boring and game guide is essential)
    - Rock n Roll racing
    - Pretty much everything else..?

    I want all of the games all these posts above have pointed out.....on my Switch.

    Someone make that shit happen.

    1) Golden Axe
    2) Alien Storm
    3) NHL Hockey '94

      Get rid of nhl hockey amd add mutant league hockey.

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