Sega Megadrive and Where To Start

Hihi! Wanted to start some conversation :wave:t4:
I’m taking some time to investigate them pesky sega systems. I’m not very experienced in that area. Currently trying out Beggar Prince, a peculiar Taiwanese title from C&E to get my feet wet, but otherwise I don’t know where to go. I’m partial to RPG’s and anything peculiar, and I’m not very good with platformers. Games don’t have to be in English if it’s playable without too much reading. Oh, and if there are translation guides availible (as with Wachenroder), then that works as well. I want to see the cream of the crop but also some overlooked gems as well. As long as it’s interesting!

Also, I’m going for Saturn games as well. The only ones I’ve tried are Sakura Taisen and D (oh, D…). I picked up Shining the Holy Ark because it looks quite promising.

My goal is to get to know these systems better and learn to love them. I admittedly had a hard time enjoying the Sega Master System, and while I was doubting the Dreamcast, I did manage to find some gems that made it all worthwhile.

Thank you ahead of time, I want to learn more about this library. :v:t4:

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We always had the Nintendo systems…given the chance, I might try TMNT: Hyperstone Heist, as I’ve played every other Turtles game I could

I might try Garfield: Caught in the Act, as I did play the Game Gear version

I like Ristar, which I also played on Game Gear and eventually got to try the Genesis version years later [on Gamecube, Switch, etc.]

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The Genesis/Megadrive had plenty of great games. Some of the titles that best-defined the 16-bit console were:

  • Sonic the Hedgehog series (platformer)
  • Other platformers such as Aladdin, Ecco the Dolphin, Ristar, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, and Earthworm Jim
  • Streets of Rage series (beat-em-up)
  • Golden Axe series (beat-em-up)
  • Shinobi series (action platformer)
  • Gunstar Heroes (run 'n gun)
  • Toejam and Earl (rougelike)
  • Phantasy Star series (turn-based RPG)
  • Shining Force series (strategy RPG)
  • Shooters (AKA shmups) such as Thunder Force series, MUSHA, Gleylancer, Elemental Master, and Trouble Shooter
  • Fighting games such as Street Fighter series and Mortal Kombat series
  • Sports games such as Madden NFL series, NHL series, and NBA Jam series
  • Arcade ports such as Outrun, Flicky, Ghouls n’ Ghosts, Strider, and Virtua Racing

For hidden gems, I personally enjoyed Outrun 2019, Panorama Cotton, Dick Tracy, Pepenga Pengo, and Battle Golfer Yui. I’m also a fan of “falling blocks” puzzle game series such as Columns and Puyo Puyo. And while Castlevania is a beloved action platformer series, the Genesis entry Castlevania: Bloodlines is an excellent entry that many people overlook.

The Genesis/Megadrive was not well-known for its RPGs, but it definitely had a good number of them. The Phantasy Star and Shining Force series are the most-commonly recommended ones. (Do note that the original Phantasy Star was a Master System game – but one well-worth checking out IMO.) You may want to also check out the Langrisser series, Shadowrun, Landstalker, Rent a Hero, Beyond Oasis, and Crusader of Centy.

I can ramble about any of the other Sega systems too if you want, but I’ll leave you with that for now!


Wooooow, so many good suggestions! Thanks bunches. I didn’t realize Gunstar Heroes was here-- I used to be obsessed with Gunstar Super Heroes as a kid. So I’ll be sure to check that out.
The Cotton games are a favorite of mine. After googling Battle Golfer Yui, I am met with maximum camp and a Kaiketsu Zubat reference, so that makes it a must-play. I’ve heard good things about Phantasy Star, so I’ll put that down too. I’ve been playing Shining the Holy Ark on Saturn and it’s really fascinating. Ecco the dolphin scare me for some reason. I didn’t realize it went as far back as this.

Thanks for so many good recs, Tears. :slight_smile:

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Several budget Garfield GBA games have forced me to label all Garfield properties as " forever cursed", but dare I say this one looks…rather nice! Whoooa!
Ristar! I only know that one from it’s amazing soundtrack! A heckin’ good bop.


Shining the Holy Ark is good, it’s grindy in the beginning but after the first dungeon or so it really picks up. You should check out its predecessors on Genesis, Shining in the Darkness, and Shining Force 1 and 2.

Megadrive/Genesis games to check out:
Phantasy Star 2 and 4
Gunstar Heroes
Mickey Mouse Castle of Illusion
Alien Soldier
Beyond Oasis

Other Saturn games:
Shining Force 3
Lunar 1 & 2
Magic Knight RayEarth
Legend of Oasis
Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean
Battle Arena Toshinden
Nights into Dreams
Panzer Dragoon Saga
Dragon Force (maybe, watch a Youtube video to see if you’d be into this one, it’s kind of slow)

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I don’t mind some grind. The game has a strange quality to it. The gameplay, while standard, feels pretty good somehow. The way it looks fascinates me. The folks working on this thought a lot about presentation.
I’m about 3/4ths through with RayEarth, and it’s stunning! A really fun little gem with all the CLAMP girlcore charm of the original show/manga. The working designs personality suits it perfectly :slight_smile: After this, I was looing into Albert Odyssey as it also looks cute and comfy. I’m in the mood for some light-hearted adventure.
Panzer Dragoon Saga, people seem to hold that game in really high regard. And as for Phantasy Star-- It’s not one of those things I need to play in order, is it? If it’s not too long, I wouldn’t be opposed to skating through the whole series.

One of the nicest surprises with MKRE was the soundtrack, it’s a bop.

You mentioned liking RPGs and Albert Odyssey is, if nothing else, a solid turn based JRPG. It’s got that Working Designs nonsense all over it, but it’s still a fun playthrough.

You don’t need to play the Phantasy Stars in order. Actually, I think I played them 4-3-2 just because of what was available to me at the time.

They all make sense on their own. They take place in the same chronology of the same universe/solar system, they’re direct sequels, but if you skip around you won’t be missing much but a few references to the game world.
The first one is a Master System dungeon crawler, I never had the system and I hate the genre so I never sought it out. 3 is a spinoff of 2, I think by a different team, and while game play is mostly the same, it just has a different vibe.
If nothing else, definitely play 4.


I’ve never played a GBA Garfield game, but I did play Garfield’s Funfest on DS, years ago

It came up in a conversation the other day, coincidentally enough. A discussion about games where you have to constantly eat the whole time

wow what a place to start. :smiley:i never even heard of this! Have you played Sonic the hedgehog 2? It’s like the default game for that system. Some of my General favorites (that i feel are pretty approachable to just about anyone to just check out for a few mins) are: The Haunting, Kid Chamelon, Alien 3, After Burner II, Super Hang-On, The Lost vikings, Rock N Roll Racing (although I prefer these two on SNES) T2: The Arcade game Revolution X and Sunset Riders are also okay (and more fun with a friend).Virtual Bart is kinda neat (if you like the Simpsons) these are all pretty decent games that you can test for 10 mins and keep going if you like one.

check out Warsong/Langrisser for MegaDrive. Phantasy Star for Master System. I found those well worth playing and they seem like games you’d enjoy. (Totally agree with Reset_Tears posts and recommendations.) For the most part the Mega Drive didnt have that many RPGs and a LOT of the games i’ve played that had Mega Drive ports that I preferred to play on my SNES. It’s partly a personal preference. However the MegaDrive has a lot of SHOOTING games that are very good and highlight some of the smoothest bits of the system. This is also true of SegaCD (which seems to have even more SHMUPS and RPGS in fact)

nope don’t think so. I started with Phantasy Star 4 end of the millenium. Kind of made it easier to understand what was going on and who was who in the Master System original when i played it many years later. Probably the best route to take TBH. Drops you into the setting/universe kinda nicely.

Def agree with this. Phantasy Star really impressed me… Less the game itself and more of what it makes the system do. PSIV is all around a good JRPG.

I’ll mention that Disney action platformers are surprisingly good on retro Sega consoles. Many titles are available on both Master System, MegaDrive and game gear. The Illusion series is one i had been checking out the past year or so and found it enjoyable. I dont favor the genre either. Just run em thru an emulator and cheat if they give you trouble. (Worth mentioning for all you Kingdom Hearts fans out there looking for something to dig into maybe haha!)

And even though nobody mentioned it. Snatcher for SegaCD. the birth of Lord Kojima-san!