The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

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Post by Lord Spencer on Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:55 pm

#16

Game: Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master.
Year: 1993.
Genre: Action.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Megasoft.

The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread - Page 3 Shinobi_III_-_Return_of_the_Ninja_Master_Coverart

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

With third Shinobi on the Genesis, Sega is making a game on the back of poorly conceived Arcade port, and a well loved game that is nonetheless overshadowed by other Ninja-themed action games.

It is Shinobi III that Sega cements the series as part of the holy Ninja Triad of the the 8 and 16 bit generation.

"He will be a shadow. He will be a Shinobi"

Unlike its predecessors, Shinobi III actually attempts to put together some story to Shinobi's actions. At least with an extensive opening essay. After that, the game basically leaves all pretense of a narrative, and simply let's the action speaks of itself.

In a supposed sequel to The Revenge of Shinobi, the evil organization in that game returned with a vengeance, and Joe Musashi needs to go through 7 levels to put a stop to it. Its all basic stuff, but that's not what you are getting into this game for.

Each level manages to be unique, in such a way as to invite multiple playthroughs through the sheer quality of the game. Unfortunately, playing on older hardware (without save points), you may miss a feature that saves progress, which is a common complaint in action games.

Still, it is a testament to the game's arcade quality that going through the same level several times rarely gets boring. After all, each time, you discover a more efficient way of moving forward, a more effective way to deal with danger. And that is the most important quality in an arcade-type game.

Very Basics Story: -2
No Save System: -1
Invites Multiple Playthroughs: +5

"Although his fighting spirit burn like fire. His mind is still and calm as water "

Retaining its shooter-like gameplay, Shinobi III continues to employ throwing shurikens as the most primary method of attack. However, it changes mechanics significantly by ramping up Joe's mobility and speed.

Now, the game invites faster play styles, and because of that, it does reduce the difficulty level overall. Which is okay, since this is the closest to a bad ass ninja experience the franchise came to achieving.

Since each level is a little different, each requires a different utilization of the game's mechanics. Some levels need a more careful approach, with a wait and see style. Others invite more speed, with one level adding in an annoying platforming section.

While the occasional platforming can be annoying, it manages to express the spirit of this faster iteration of Shinobi. With the ability to wall jump, as well as double jump, performing these ninja feats is a big part of the game's fun.

However, due to the frustrating unpredictability of the double jump, what could have been one of the highlights of the game becomes one of its lowest points.

Other than that, all action mechanics click satisfactorily. Especially with boss battles that are difficult, engaging, and beautifully tense.

Healthy Challenge: +2
Fun Basic Gameplay: +3
Fun Bosses: +3
Double Jump Inaccuracy: -2

"The wings of darkness burns and shakes the earth as it lands"

It is obvious that Sega applied all their production experience for the Genesis in making this game. As it manages to look and sound, simply better than any other action game in the system, and even rivals the best looking games of the SNES.

Due to the increased speed of the game, anything less than the top-notch sprite animation we see here would have been an obvious let down. It is then more satisfying to see that these well-animated sprites are also remarkably detailed. Especially the bosses, whose increased size allows for more to show, without sacrificing performance.

Yet, these sprites wouldn't look half as impressive if not for beautiful level and background design. One level has an impossibly large moon in the background, and somehow, the entire landscape somehow seems to be lit through that moon.

True, some levels do have some boring generic "secret base" look, but the majority of locations and backgrounds are either the perfection of a well-worn level type (forest level), or something new and exciting.

Similarly, the soundtrack is the best in the series, and among the best on the Genesis. It doesn't grate in the ears like other, usually non-Sega games, and it manages to be upbeat and exciting throughout.

Great Graphics: +5
Very Good Soundtrack: +3

In Conclusion:

Shinobi III is the culmination of Sega's experience in both the Genre and the console. It manages to be one of the most mechanically satisfying Action games in the system, as well as an obvious art production power house.

It doesn't have the interesting lore and look of games like Castlevania, or even Strider, but it does make it up by being very good at what it does, and that's being a very good Action-Shooter hybrid starring a Ninja named Joe.

Final: 41/50

"Tips"
1- Conserve your Shurikens, don't waste them on enemies that guard.
2- Do not rush forward, check first to see enemies before they see you.
3- The fourth Ninjatsu skill attacks the bosses, give you back a spell, and costs you one life. Use it against difficult bosses if you have lives to spare.
4- Look around the stages for more Shurikens and power up.
5- When using a power up, you can guard against some attacks by moving forward.
6- You are most vulnerable when you jump, so make sure things are clear.

"Next Game"

That's it for the Shinobi series on the Genesis. In fact, that is it for the Shinobi series until the PS2 era. Based on the games I played, as well as the reception for the series, I don't understand why it didn't feature in the Sega Saturn. Its a good Action series, that probably should have a greater fleshing out in the Saturn era.

Next game in the list, at #16 is Beyond Oasis, an action adventure game that released in 1995, after the Saturn was released. From what everyone is telling me, it looks like a good game.

Stay Tuned

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Post by Lord Spencer on Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:19 am

#12

Game: Beyond Oasis
Year: 1995.
Genre: Action Adventure.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Ancient.

The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread - Page 3 Beyond-oasis-cover

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

In many ways, Beyond Oasis is a typical example of the games released at the end of the 16bit generation. It manages to squeeze every ounce of the system's technical capabilities, as well as learn from all the past games in the genre, and yet is still ignored.

If it was released a year or two earlier, Beyond Oasis would have been hailed as a masterpiece. However, it was released when the SNES was dominating the market, and Sega released the Saturn for over a year, as well as the doomed 32X Genesis expansion.

"He will lead Oasis to ruin if you don't stop them"

As you can guess from the name of the game, the story is set in a desert kingdom surrounding an oasis. You wouldn't guess that the protagonist name is Ali given the blond hair though. In this desert kingdom, Ali finds the Gold Armlet, a magical item that will allow him to stand up to the evil threatening the oasis.

In a clear sign of the trend toward more elaborate narratives in the coming generations, Beyond Oasis is significantly more story-driven than other similar games on the Genesis. It is not a thrilling story by any means, but it adds a driving factor to the player.

One thing that annoyed me is how Ali is constantly being called "Gold Armlet", as if the object he is wearing is somehow a name. As such, his evil counterpart is called Silver Armlet, which is just a stupid name.

There is a Story: +2

"The power of the Gold Armlet are now yours to lose"

Using a top-down perspective, like the 2D Legend of Zelda games, Beyond Oasis is surprisingly mobile. Ali can dash, jump, and crawl like he would do if this was a Side-Scrolling game. He attacks with various combos, depending on how you push the attack button. For instance, quick taps will give off a short and fast stabbing attack that does little damage. But quick taps with specific rhythm will give off an effective combo.

Other than his trusty dagger, there is a small amount of destructible weapons that can be found. Even though the durability of these weapons mean that you will mostly depend on the unbreakable dagger, they are frequently found so that you will probably use them in a lot of the game's harder encounters.

Due to both the availability of a lot of health restoration items, as well as Ali's magical powers (which I will talk about later), the game is rarely if ever difficult.

Battles can be very hectic, with lot of soldiers, giants, and imps running around. However, if you keep your distance well, you can slash and kick your way around easily out of any trouble. If not, you can simply use a lot of the thrown around health restoration items for an instant recovery.

Even bosses, who are actually fun to fight against, and look formidable most of the time, are not that much of a challenge. In fact, if you want to add any degree of difficulty, you should probably abstain from using some types of items.

Fun Action Gameplay: +4
Fast Movement: +3
Easy: -3

"Show me your power, Gold Armlet"

To help in his fight against evil, Gold Armlet (See how stupid that sounds) must recruit four elemental spirits to help him. Each of these spirits can be summoned as a companion, and will allow Ali to use a variety of useful abilities both to solve puzzles and fight enemies.

The main conceit of summoning these allies is something I never saw before. You cannot simply summon any of them at will, but must summon them through a corresponding elemental object. For example, to summon Efreet (the fire elemental), you must use an open flame. If there isn't any nearby, you must backtrack to find one (especially if you actually need him to solve a puzzle).

It is never as annoying as it could be, and is mainly used as another layer of puzzle solving.

Speaking of puzzles, they are one of the obstacles in the game's levels along with mild platforming challenges and enemies. They are rarely memorable ,but they are a welcome distraction. Especially in the game's dungeon's, which are fun and well paced.

The same cannot be said of the game's more "open" areas, which scroll poorly, and are barren of any interesting objects.

Good Dungeons: +3
Nice Variety of Elemental Powers: +3
Barren Open Areas: -2

"I appear from the void to become your shadow"

Naturally, coming at the end of the Genesis's lifecycle, Beyond Oasis had the entire library of the console to learn from. This is showcased in its technical achievement, which allow for smooth gameplay, great graphics and animation, and even some nice looking pixel built "scenes".

Starting with the game's graphics, while the playground is not anything special, both the sprites and the background is absolutely stellar. Especially the sprites, which are large, detailed, and animate well.

Take the giants for example. They look physically imposing, and the walk around with a sense of weight thanks to the detail in their design and animation. Having several of them on screen, you would imagine an earlier Genesis game would have some noticeable frame drops.

Of course, Ali perfectly showcase the game's technical abilities. Comparing him to any protagonist in a Top Down action adventure game, he moves with more fluidity and style than any of them. The animations employed here are responsible for making the quick action gameplay possible.

A similar level of care and ambition went on to compose the music of the game, which aims to be both unique and atmospheric. Unfortunately, it succeeds, but at the cost of being boring to listen to, and a poor compliment to the colorful graphics we see on screen..

Obviously, Yuzo Koshiro (a very good composer) had an ambitious composition on his mind, but neither the Genesis nor the game could have made that ambition a reality.

Great Graphics: +5
Poor Soundtrack: -2

In Conclusion:

As with many late games in both the SNES and Genesis life cycle, Beyond Oasis could have been an instant classic if released earlier. Yet, we wonder if it was possible for any development team to get as much of the Genesis in an earlier period.

Unfortunately, because it was released so late, this is one game that was unfairly ignored by the masses, even if appreciated by those who luckily played it at the time.

Final: 38/50

"Tips"
1- Items in dungeons reset if you exit and enter.
2- There are orbs that increase your magic points scattered around the world.
3- When you defeat a lot of enemies, you sometimes get a big heart piece that increases your health.
4- Try and always keep some health items ready.
5- If you have the water elemental out, you can restore your health.
6- You recover magic points if you don't have an elemental summoned.

"Next Game"

Finally, I am getting into the Genesis groove. Frankly, most of the game's I have played out of the top 20 were a semi-waste of my time. It is games like Beyond Oasis that I look for when doing these reviews. Little unknown gems that are really fun to play,

Next game on the list, at #10, is not a little known gem. Contra: Hard Corps is one of the best know games on the series's history, and one that might convince me to enjoy brutal shooters.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer on Thu May 11, 2017 6:09 pm

#10

Game: Contra: Hard Corps
Year: 1994.
Genre: Run & Gun.
Publisher: Konami.
Developer: Konami.

The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread - Page 3 Contra_-_Hard_Corps_Coverart

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Contra: Hard Corps is what happens when a series well known for its arcade style roots evolves itself into a full fledged console title. This is not your simply Contra Run & Gun game, its the basic popular formula, with some of the best production values in the Genesis library.

And that's a big reason of why Hard Corps may be both the best Contra game, and the bust Run & Gun on the system.

"Welcome to the virtual zone. I hope you enjoy yourself"

As the first Contra game to have four playable characters, the game immediately announces its intention to surpass all other Contra games. Given the same art style, but bigger, the same combat but better; you can be easily convinced that it is.

However, the biggest draw of Hard Crops is its anachronistic dedication to actually telling a story. Gone are the long winded introductions at the beginning of the game. You know, the ones that imitate the beginning of Star Wars and simply puts in all of the story up front, never to be mentioned again.

Here, there is an actual story being told, and it is revealed through scenes between levels, as well as in stage conversations with the bad guys. Its basic, but it is especially rewarding given the game actually has multiple endings.

These endings are accessed through branching paths, depending on decisions you make through the story. In this addition by itself, Hard Corps is head and shoulders above almost all other action games in its story telling attempt.

One glaring omission however is that the story doesn't change at all depending on the character you choose. I think it would have been very simple to just change little lines of dialogue to reflect the character you are controlling. Otherwise, you get the Helicopter pilot apologizing for being late to Sheena, saying: "Sorry, Bro".

Story with Branching Paths: +4
Doesn't Change with Characters: -2

"Now begins the horror"

With four characters to choose from, and four basic endings (there are two hidden endings), you are expected to play the game four times.

Two questions then are immediately raised:

Is it going to be different each time?

Is it worth playing four times?

The answer to the first question is yes. Due to both the character and ending change, you will be playing differently and in different levels (as well as shared levels between all paths). While all characters share the exact same classic control scheme, they are all different in both major and minor ways.

In minor ways, the characters all have different height, making for an easier or harder time dodging bullets. Also, their jumps and slide dashes are slightly different, making different strategies preferable or useless.

Their biggest difference is in their selection of weapons. Each of the 4 characters have access to 4 unique weapons, and these drastically change the way you approach the game. For instance, Fang packs the absolute max firepower, and yet is a big target. Hence, it is worth it to take more risks to simply minimize the time you fight bosses with him, and thus reduce the chance of getting hit.

In the other hand, Browny is a small and agile target, and his homing boomerang weapon can chip away at an enemy's health while you focus on avoiding their attacks.

The answer to the second question is no. It is worth playing through Hard Corps more than four times, simply because it is so much fun, and it is nice seeing how far you can get without using save points or other modern cheat methods.

Variety In Characters: +3
Worth Multiple Playthroughs: +4

"This will be your graveyard"

Unlike the way it does with the story and character choices, Hard Corps does not change the popular Contra formula very much. This is still a hard as balls Run & Gun game where you get killed in one shot. The genre is aptly named, because you are expected to hold down the gun button, and never stop moving.

It is definitely a challenging game, and many initially find it an insurmountable challenge. Other than the fact that you die with one hit, it is more difficult because you lose a weapon when you die. This means that while fighting an obnoxious boss battle, you could get hit, and then lose the only weapon suitable for defeating them.

Which is why, to get the best of the game, I would suggest playing it in a way that has a state save feature. Then, after getting acquainted with the game, play it without the training wheels.

Simply, being able to finish the game on the merits of your own skills is a hugely satisfying feeling.

In Hard Corps, you are fighting more bosses than actual fodder enemies, with each stage having one or two mini-bosses. These monstrosities are examples of great boss design, as well as a true test to your reflexes and pattern memorization. One boss' mode of attack is stacking play-like block, and having them come to life in bizarre ways to attack you. Another is the result of getting hacked into a system, in a way only 90's videogames understood hacking with.

Generally, the game's bosses are the culmination of Hard Corps satisfying difficulty curve, and with the exception of some of the final bosses, the game never feels unfair to the player.

Good Challenge: +3
Excellent Bosses: +4
Cheap Final Bosses: -2

"HA! Your existence means less than nothing to me, you FLEA!"

Taking cue from other Konami 16 bit games, Hard Corps is once again a technical achievement in its selected console. Both graphically and its soundtrack, this is a well produced game.

Starting with its graphics, each and every sprite pops really well against well crafted backgrounds. Take Fang's design for example. He looks every bit the humanoid wolf badass the designers probably wanted him to look like.

Of course, the many bosses of the game are what showcase its graphical muscles. Their larger than life forms nearly fill the entire screen, and there is much to be admired in their detail.

Fortunately, the music also complements the game's excellent graphics. The soundtrack is upbeat, moves quickly, and is suitable to the action. It manages to stick int your memory for longer than you might want, with the boss jingles in particular sounding in your ears as you prepare to sleep.

One annoying part about the music is how the other sound effects manage to frequently drawn it out. Since you will be constantly shooting your weapon, the firing sound itself will almost sound like an unwelcome instrument in each music track.

Great Graphics: +4
Good Soundtrack: +3

In Conclusion:

There are no two ways about it, Contra Hard Corps is possibly the best game in the series, and by virtue of that, is one of the best Action games on the Genesis.

Through its addition of branching path and multiple characters, Hard Corps compliments the standard formula of the series and adds to its appeal.

Final: 45/50

"Tips"
1- Based on my experience, I think both Fang and Browny make the game easier.
2- Ray and Sheena in the other hand are more similar to past Contra heroes.
3- Almost all weapons are useful.
4- Save your bombs for the final bosses, ONLY.

"Next Game"

Another great action game on the Genesis from Konamai, who really had an excellent grasp of the genre in the 16 bit era. Not anymore, I would guess.

Next game in the series, in #8, is Shining Force II. I really liked the first Shining Force game, and I was looking forward to this one. If it is anything like the first, then I expect another great SRPG for the Genesis.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:05 am

#8

Game: Shining Force II.
Year: 1994.
Genre: SRPG.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Climax Entertainment, Sonic! Software Planning.

The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread - Page 3 Genesis-shining-force-2-front

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

The second Shining Force game, and the one that cemented the series's SRPG direction, is basically a  bigger and better version of the first game. That's not to say that its not a different game with a different story, but it does make it seem like the first one was a test run to make the sequel.

Bigger in both size and scope, the game does suffer a little from length, but that's only a problem if you don't like what it gives you in the first place.

Shining Force 2 may be the best SRPG in the 4th generation.

"The Tower is the sacred seal that confines a terrible evil"

Taking cue from other early 90s RPGs, Shining Force II does not try to tell a complicated story. However, it does try hard to tell a story. The number of lines of dialogue in the game is probably more than the sum of 2 other Genesis RPGs or more.

It doesn't make for a compelling story, but it adds a narrative goalpost to your actions, and it introduces some fun and interesting parts to the game. Sure, its a cookie cutter story of good vs. Evil, but its funny how it all started with a robin hood style theft gone wrong. Its funny that a frustrated God (fed-up will his seals always getting broken) forsakes humanity in such a nonchalant way.

Mostly though, the game does get credit for attempting to provide a grand story to tell. More than the first game, Shining Force II seriously propelled the medium's storytelling credentials forward. It even has a Gandalf figure to move the narration and story along.

Again though, character interaction is limited, and besides their awesome portraits and sprites, your many allies rarely have any characterization. For a game with such a big amount of dialogue, they should have come took some of the line of the Gandalf character.

Good Story and Setting: +3
A Move Forward: +2
Limited Character Story and Interaction: -2

"You battle strategy was wonderful! I praise you"

This game continues with style of progression introduced in the earlier game. Battles are the main event, but there is an RPG-like overworld to move within and go from one event to the other. The game actually overkills it with the overworld, because it asks you to move through vast aounts of land with vague direction and no map. Since actually reaching a Battle means you went to the correct place, and that there are no random battle in between, its not a big deal.

Like with the first game, the overworld exploration sets the game apart from other SRPGs, even if it adds little to the game. In it you start preparing your army's equipment and items, going through the cross menu system of the first game (which has some pros and cons).

Most of your time will be spent in the many battles of the game. Here, you control up to 12 characters in a grid Turn-Based combat system. Turns are decided based on the agility stat of all combatants.

Characters come in different classes, and based on that cover a variety of functions. Which I will detail later.

In all of the game's stages, the goal is to defeat all enemy characters while making sure the main character doesn't die. You characters level-up based on their performance, which means you need to make sure all of your characters are engaged in the battle.

This is not the game that attempts to revolutionize the SRPG genre, but one that covers all the basics while delivering a challenging and fun combat system, one with all the pros and cons of the genre.

Walking around like in an RPG: +2
Solid Gameplay: +3
Good Stages: +3

"I have no time to waste on these kids. Devils, I summon thee!"

One of the major differences between Shining Force II and its prequel is how the characters level up. In both games, characters gain experience based on attacking the enemy unit or healing a friendly one. However, once leveled up, the difference is apparent. In the first game, the stat increase is highly random and you could get anything from a godly boost to a useful 2 point increase.

In this game, the stat increase is more stable, and as such, is more predictable and the player is able to plan around that expectation.

Like in the first game, managing how characters are involved in the game is an important strategic consideration. Make sure that all characters are involved so that they level up. Of course, if you are worried about your level, you could still leave the battle and replay it again (you can't replay a battle you already won). If you fail to level-up some characters, its useless to continue with them, and the game offers a safety valve of introducing similar characters (to the role), that will be the level of your hero.

Characters come in many interesting classes, and are then promoted once you go to level 20. Some classes have two different promotions (based on finding items), and leveling up beyond 20 is recommended for getting more stat boosts.

If you are playing the game on normal, don't worry about your stats too much, but make sure Slade goes up to level 30 before promoting him. On harder difficulties, promotion should be at least at level 30.

A lot of the fun found in this game is due to playing with your team's composition. The different classes are fun to play around with. Centaurs are your basic high mobility knights that can't run well on grass, and then you have your mages and your healers. However, there are cannon archers, ninjas and robots, and the ever present Bird Battlers who both look cool and fun to play around with.

Ability to Replay Battles: +3
Varied Character Classes: +3
Character Introduction Safety Valve: +1

"I won't let you pass. You shall not harm the king"

Compared to the rest of changes the sequel made, the presentation is yet another incremental improvement.

It sports the same colorful and detailed sprites of the original, but with a little more variety. Battles are still animated, but much of the effects carry over from the first game, which is not a big issue.

The biggest change in the graphics department is the big character portraits, which actually show more details even if I liked the character design of the first game's characters more. Also, the in-battle sprites are more detailed this time around.

The biggest change is in the game's music, which, while still limited in number is more complex in sound and better overall. When in battle for 30 minutes, the same track do get boring, but at least its a better soundtrack than the first game.

Good Graphics and Character Design: +3
Good animation: +2

In Conclusion:

While Shining Force II is only a marginally better game than the the first one, its improvements on the margins ensure that a very good Genesis game is even better. Mostly, it shows an ambition in game design that is lacking in many other Genesis games.

Since the Fire Emblem series never had their SNES game's localized, I cannot compare them to this game, but against everything else, Shining Force II is clearly the best SRPG game of the 4th Generation of videogames.

Final: 48/50

"Tips"
1- You should try and level up Slade to level 30 before promoting him. Give him an item that increases offense early on though or leveling him up would be a nightmare..
2- If you need to level your characters up, Egress during battle and continue to fight with your weaker characters.
3- You can do the same if you need money.
4- As with other SRPGs, promoting your characters early is not a good idea. Generally promote characters that reach level 20.
5- Main Character dies, and its gameover, make sure to protect him.
6- There are hidden items. Mythril is used later to make powerful weapons, and there are promotion items to access the second promotion.
7- There are hidden characters, search suspicious places in the environment.
8- Promote Sarah to a Monk.
9- Promote Kazin to a Sorcerer.
10- If you won't worry about finding items and leveling up characters, you will need to utilize the later characters and forget the rest.

"Next Game"

Shining Force II is an ambitious game, and one that would have been right at home on the SNES, In the Genesis, its clearly heads and shoulders above a lot of the rest, and is my favorite game so far. I am now looking forward to play ore of the series on the Sega Saturn, but I know there is little beyond that.

Next game in the series is Landstalker at #5. This is considered one of the best RPGs on the system, and utilizes a seldom used in consoles isometric view. I am in the top 5 games of Retro Sanctuary's list now, and all of these should be golden.

Stay Tuned
Lord Spencer
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Post by Guest on Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:01 pm

@Lord Spencer

Talking to Freeza in PMs I have a game request for you when you finish your list.  It should be the Ringside Angel or キューティー鈴木のリングサイドエンジェル if you are getting the rom.



So Many memories Smile

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Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:21 pm

I will review it before my final Genesis game.

I can't promise it will be a detailed review though Smile
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Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:05 pm

#5

Game: Landstalker.
Year: 1993.
Genre: Action Adventure.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Climax Entertainment.

The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread - Page 3 Landstalker_us

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Made by one of the early stars of Sega's development teams, Landstalker was Sega's answer to the Legend of Zelda. The fact that nearly the only similarity between the two is the fact it stars a blonde elf is a significant positive for Landstalker.

For better or worse, Landstalker is not a middling Zelda clone. It confidently goes forward as its own thing, warts and all.

"Woe and death unto those who step into this land..."

Right off the bat, it is surprising how much character and plot the game manages to put into a 1992 cartridge. Starting with an opening credit sequence where Nigel (the main character) does his best impression of Indiana Jones, the game continues on with a theme of adventure and comedy that it manages to retain throughout the game.

Usually, at that time, it was enough for a game to have a story, regardless of quality. Some narrative that pushes the player forward. Landstalker was not content with that. Instead, it manages to actually be a really good story with genuinely funny lines.

Nigel suddenly stumbles into the Wood Nymph, Friday. This chance encounter propels him into a search of the Treasures of King Nole in an island nation. While the game doesn't do naything revolutionary with this setting (why should it?), it doesn't lazily rely on it. It does manage to introduce some funny characters, throw in some comedic situations, and generally be far ahead of anything else at it time.

Good Story and Setting: +5
Genuinely Funny Sometimes: +3

"I keep sending scouts there, but somehow, they don't seem to return"

The world of Landstalker is basically an over-world littered with dungeons. Nigel can move, carry and throw things, and attack. In addition to the limited utilization of some items, that is basically what the gameplay consists off.

All these elements depend on the, let's say, unique way movement is handled in this game. Because the game takes place in a "3D" isometric space, the traditional directional buttons do not work well in the game. Instead, two directional buttons need to be held at the same time to move Nigel the way you want to.

It is not immediately obvious how it should be done, but it soon becomes second-nature once you adapt to it. Movement in an isometric field basically dominates how you approach combat in the game.

Nigel's attack is one basic forward horizontal swipe. Later, with more swords, he get access to some area of effect magic attacks, but that does not change thing much. Fundamentally, combat is about positioning yourself where you can hit your enemies and where they cannot hit you. Since your attacks push them backwards, you must always move and attack.

It is by no means a deep combat system, but its frantic and fast enough to be engaging. Due to the number recovery items you can hold, its rarely difficult, but if you neglect movement, its easy to burn through those berries.

Simple b Engaging Combat: +3
Isometric Movement Executed Well: +3
Multiple Dungeons: +2

"Nooooo! Now we are dead ducks"

Unlike with combat and basic traversal, movement becomes a significant issue in platforming and platforming puzzles. The game's worst moments are easily related to its more obtuse platforming challenges.

It is actually surprising that an isometric game even attempts to cram in as much platforming in it. Imagine the imprecise and annoying platforming of Super Mario RPG on the SNES, but actually add in a lot of penalties to it, and you have Landstalker's platforming sections in a nutshell.

Isometric maps are not real "3D" space, and they therefore have little indication of depth and position. This is why, when the game asks you to jump perfectly into floating one-space blocks, its actively wasting your time.

Several times, especially nearing the end of the game, Nigel is required to go through platforming sequences that are made more difficult due to the isometric view and non-conforming control scheme.

Mostly, this adds more time and frustration to the game. Coupled with the labyrinthine late game dungeons, this makes the last quarter of the game a slog to go through. In one dungeon, the designers thought it smart to have a number of doors sending you back to earlier parts of the dungeon; requiring you to repeat the same area more than a couple of times.

Terrible Platforming: -4
No Map Feature: -2

"Going off to defeat Mir, eh? Hope your mama's got something black to wear!"

Besides the platforming flaws related to the isometric view, Landstalker does little wrong regarind its presentation. In fact, it may be one of the best looking isometric games of its time. That is mostly due to the detailed and colorful sprite design.

Everything, from the background objects to the player character, is well-drawn and animated with experience. Its not exactly an outstanding result. Character models have something off about them; a smurf-like quality that I didn't particularly enjoy. However, it is all made in such a way to compleent the game world, and of consistent quality.

The same can be said of the music, which while lacking in iconic tracks, is of an almost uniformly very good quality. Tracks range from the playful to the adventurous, and they compliment the tone of the game rather well.

Ultimately, the visuals and sound of the game are highly professional and well-executed, even if they do lack some edge.

Good Graphics and Character Design: +3
Good animation: +2
Good Soundtrack: +3

In Conclusion:

Landstalker was a surprise to me. Mostly because I didn't expect a game of its time to actually have a consistently good story that manages to make me laugh. Also, I didn't expect a game to manage so much in the isometric space.

True, the platforming is a major pain, and there are any limitations and flaws.

However, by being its own thing, and not a clone of another well-known action game, Landstalker earns its place among the best games of the Genesis.

Final: 43/50

"Tips"
1- You should look for Lifestocks (to increase your health) all over the place.
2- Stock up on health item when you go to the later dungeons.
3- Use the dahl to retun full-health, as the berry should be utilized for revival emergencies only.
4- Wear the Health shoes (if you find it) and walk around to regain some health.
5- Always wear the latest armor you find.
6- A good way of dealing with enemies is trapping them against a wall and rapidly slashing at them.
7- The greatest defense is slashing like hell.

"Next Game"

While its not in the same level as A Link to the Past, Landstalker is by far the best Action Adventure game of the Genesis library. It actually surprised me by being genuinely funny.

Next game is known as Treasure's finest Genesis game at #3 in the list. Gunstar Heroes is a well-known colorful shooter game. I didn't particularly enjoy the Treasure games, and I am going into theis one with some reservation. Hope I am finally converted.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Guest on Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:51 pm

Oh snap I remember Gunstar Heroes. Will be interesting seeing how you like that Very Happy

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Post by Lord Spencer on Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:43 pm

#3

Game: Gunstar Heroes.
Year: 1993.
Genre: Run & Gun.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Treasure.

The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread - Page 3 Gunstar_Heroes

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

I must confess that I wasn't a big fan of Treasure's other games on the Genesis. Alien Soldier was definitely a solid shooter, but it was too chaotic and hard to follow, and the less said about the Light Crusader the better.

I am also not a big fan of the Run & Gun genre, finding it too limited and repetitive for great games to come out of it.

Which is why it is doubly surprising that I managed to enjoy Gunstar Heroes so much, proving that this game is a pinnacle for both the console and the genre.

"No!... The Earth, under one person's power"

At the Genesis era, games like Gunstar Heroes didn't usually make any effort to tell a story or to have any sort of narrative. While this is mostly the case for Gunstar Heroes, it actually puts in more effort in crafting a story than other similar games.

Starting with an opening narrative, the evil empire managed to take control of the entire earth, and its up to the heroic Gunstar Heroes to save the world. In order to do so, they must take back the 4 power gems.

That's a very basic story, but the style of the game manages to add more character than that.

Featuring a unique sprite design for its characters, Gunstar Heroes achieves a similar effect to the Metal Slug series by crafting a world that's full of character. That's mostly apparent with the absurdly Bison-like character (from Street Fighter series) Smash Diakatsu, who showcases a lot of humor and personality through his design and animation.

Some Narrative Elements: +1
Very Good Characters: +2

"Your journey ends here"

Gunstar Heroes plays at the outset like any other Run & Gun game, but with a few differences. First, you have the ability to pick any of the four beginning level. Second, you can choose between two shooting styles through your choice of characters. Either fixed shooting, or fixed aim. The first option allows you to aim your shot at a single point and keep firing, but that sacrifices the ability to move and shoot at the same time. Obviously, the second option is the best.

That's not the only difference that counts though. Besides the ability to run and... well, gun, this game allows the hero some significant mobility as well as a variety of offensive option.

You can slide into enemies, as well as do some drop kick attacks. Also, when getting close, you could throw them at each other, with even some bosses being susceptible to that move. Since the game gives you a health bar instead of the one-hit kills of the Contra and Metal Slug series, this expanded move-set allows for extremely chaotic fun.

Added to your variety of beat-em-up moves, is of course the weapons themselves. The game basically offers a system where you can have two gems that affect your main gun out of four kinds. There is homing, laser, flame thrower, and rapid fire. Each type has been featured in run & gun games in the past, and you could probably guess how it behaves.

Gunstar Heroes does not only give you the ability to switch between two types, but also to combine them for an extra devastating effect. As far as I can tell, all weapon combinations are valid in some way, but some are clearly more suitable for the majority of the game.

Great Run & Gun Gameplay: +5
Weapon Variety: +2

"Welcome to the Dice Palace"

With such a great gameplay foundation to build on, Gunstar Heroes can only fail if the levels do not do justice to the gameplay. Thankfully, that's not the case here.

Each stage is in some way, drastically different than the other. With even one stage that plays more like a shmup than a Run & Gun game, and another taking place in something similar to a board game. This variety is especially apparent considering the bosses.

As seen in later Treasure games, they have a tendency to put their best work with their bosses, and that started here. From small-sized baddies to those that cover nearly half the screen, the bosses in show here are among the best in the genre.

By being both fair and fearsome, they manage to strike the perfect balance between challenge and frustration.

Since this game is meant as a score-attack game though, it is supposed t be finished in one-setting. Meaning that there is no saving or passwords, but that's a small issue if your considering emulated versions.

Good Level Variety: +4

"Ha, Ha, Ha... If you want to save Yellow, come to me with all the gems"

With its character designs being part of the charm, and its varied level needing to look varied, this is game that manages to do both justice through its graphics. Through both good sprite arts, and very good background design, the game looks great despite the chaos in the screen.

It's a great sight to see multitude of bullets and enemies flying about at you mow through them with your double falmethrower.

Special mention needs to be reserved to the surprisingly good 3D graphics though. Somehow, the game manages to put in a couple of sequences where 3D polygons interact with 2D space without being overly offensive to the eye.

Audio-wise, the game is just as good. Through both effects and music, it showcases an energetic tone throughout. Something that particularly invites players to go forward despite the difficulties faced.

Good Graphics: +3
Good Music: +3

In Conclusion:

Most of the time, I am confident of what I think my opinion on a game would be. In this case, I thought Treasure would have a third strike, and they will be out. It's their first game, and their latter efforts gave me no reason to celebrate.

Which is why I am happy that this time I was wrong. This game is not only a fine first-time effort by Treasure, but a very good game as well.

Final: 45/50

"Tips"
1- For maximum defense, take homing weapons and move to avoid being hit.
2- For maximum offense, its all about the flamethrower baby.
3- In the Shmup stage, you will live and die by you combination, so try for a homing flamethrower.
4- Don't always use the combination effect, sometimes a single option is the best (rarely so).
5- You can double the weapon style for double the single-type impact.
6- Always go with free movement.

"Next Game"

I know that one Dtoid member hoped I would enjoy a Treasure game, and now it came to pass that I did indeed enjoy one. Still a toss-out between this game and Hard Corps as the best Genesis Run & Gun.

Two games remain in the list, but I got a weird request to review a game from one Goallegacy poster. So, for the next game, I will be reviewing Ringside Angel, a wrestling game with some "unique" characteristics It's going to be a shorter than usual review though.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:01 pm

#S6

Game: Cutie Suzuki no Ringside Angel.
Year: 1990.
Genre: Wrestling.
Publisher: Asmik Corperation.
Developer: Copya System Ltd.

The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread - Page 3 220px-CutieSuzukinoRingsideAngelJPBoxShotGenesis

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Before there was Senran Kagura, before there was Dead or Alive, before Dead or Alive Beach Volley Ball was even a tiny speck of a though, there was Cutie Suzuki no Ringside Angel.

Actually, that's not exactly fair. While women wrestling outside of the Olympic sport was specifically conceived for its titillation factor, it had the mixture of sport and realism to maybe make a game that isn't only focused on the sexual aspect.

Ringside Angel, probably due to the lack of graphical ability of the time, is that game.

"Welcome to the exciting world"

Ringside Angel is simply a bona fide wrestling game, but with an all female cast. It involves selecting one wrestler, and competing against others in a series of championships of similar difficulties. Nearly all wrestlers can use the same moves, but there are some specials related to each one. One wrestler, Cutie Suzuki, is actually a real female wrestler and the star of the game. The rest are fictional.

The goal of the match is to submit the opposite fighter, or to throw them out of the ring and make sure the counter runs out before they are able to get in. Basically, an actual take-down or a technical victory.

Being a Japanese game, I wasn't actually sure what are the names of the moves I performed, or how to exactly perform them. Basically, the strategy boils down to scoring a couple of punches and kicks before button mashing for throw moves. When the enemy is in the ground, do a submission move, or take them down if the background music changes.

In some way, the game could actually be a highly technical one, where grapples and counters make for an interesting game between the player and the computer. However, in practice, simple button mashing is enough to win.

When that doesn't work well, then the AI is stupid enough that you can easily get a technical victory out of them.

Good Wrestling Gameplay: +4
Very Easy to win against the AI: -5

"Oh no! Ninja! Ha Ha Ha...."

For a game featuring around 9 different fighters, it should have at least tried to make them more than pallet swaps. Outside of skin color, hair color and style, and the color of the leotard, the sprites are simply the same.

There is some great animation work done for the wrestling moves though, which are all inspired by real wrestling moves, some of which look very painful to endure (or to actually perform). However, outside of the special moves themselves, the sprites regular movement is stiff and uncontrolled.

Graphically, its not a bad game. In fact, given the fact its one of the earliest Genesis games, it actually looks pretty good. Especially when taking the portrait design of the characters, and how it changes to reflect pain or excitement.

In the sound department, the effects are terrible, failing to register the impact of the moves in any way. As for the tracks, its basically early Genesis sound design, with all pros and cons associated.

Good Graphics: +3
Poor Sound Design :-2

In Conclusion:

Maybe if you play it against friends, Ringside Angel would be a better game. But even then, there are simply better wrestling games, and better fighting games, on the Genesis.

Outside of the novelty of an all-female wrestling games, this is not a title that offers much else. It's one of those games that some people stumbled upon and greatly enjoyed, more so because they did not actually know what other great games they were missing.

Final: 25/50

"Tips"
1- Button ash your grabs.
2- If you are finding difficulty winning (for some weird reason) just get out the ring and allow the AI to defeat themselves.

"Next Game"

Now that I quickly finished Ringside Angel, we will go back to the top 100 list.

The game I am reviewing next is #2, and is considered the best RPG on the Genesis. I am of course talking about Phantasy Star IV. The second game was very dated, the third was an OK but weird game, and now I hope the fourth one justifies all the hype.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer on Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:49 pm

#2

Game: Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Year: 1995.
Genre: Turn-Based JRPG.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Sega.

The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread - Page 3 Latest?cb=20100825183950

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

During the 16bit console wars, the Phantasy Star series was the Genesis answer to the various excellent RPGs of the SNES, and it was fighting a mostly lonely battle in its side.

Phantasy Star II was a good game but with significantly dated design, and PSIII had great ideas but its execution was a little off.

Only with Phantasy Star IV does the Genesis have an RPG that can stand toe to toe with the SNES greats. It manages to fix most of the issues plaguing the two games before it, while also improving in all other areas.

"Four bells tolled. Four torches were lit. And the world continued for thousands of years..."

The most obvious improvement PSIV has over its predecessors is in its story. While it can be said that  the story is actually much simpler and straightforward than both PSII and PSIII, it unfolds in a significantly better way.

In dialogue, character development, and world building, PSIV is a game that showcases the growth in videogame narrative during the fourth generation.

It starts with the now basic premise of "hunters" stumbling into a mission that turns out much bigger than they initially thought. Soon, it becomes apparent that more than simple monster raids are at stake, and Chaz and his mentor Alys find themselves fighting to save the entire Algo solar system.

Uniquely for its time, the story unfolds both in regular text dialogue and some comic book style "cut-scenes". These manage to tell the story in a more dramatic way, and they are an early precursor to the more cinematic scenes from today.

Surprisingly, the story-despite being a tad simplistic-is actually pretty good. In fact, it manages to have one event in it that predates another iconic JRPG event, making me actively care about the characters involved.

There is some annoying development for Chaz at the end of the story, and there can always be a better interaction between the different characters. However, that's just a small detraction of what is otherwise a very good story.

Good Story and Setting: +4
Good Character Development: +3
Good Dialogue and Cut-Scenes: +3

"Only after the destruction that we can create a new world"

In its gameplay, PSIV is a basic JRPG. You go from town to town, dungeon to dungeon, fighting enemies in turn-based battles. These battles are going to take the majority of your time. Generally, the difficulty curve is acceptable, and even a little bit in the easier side. A simple forward march will have you with enough level for the majority of the game. Otherwise, a simple trek to some of the handful of optional dungeons would be enough.

Battles are turn-based, with the Agility stat deciding who plays first. With five characters at a time, there are different roles for each character to take. Regular enemies usually can be defeated with auto attacking, with the occasional group frizzed by a spell.

Bosses in the other hand require to throw everything you have at them. Meaning to simply pummel them with magic and skills.

One unique mechanic I saw in the game is the ability to craft an auto-attack micro. Each micro has specific commands, and choosing the macro would unleash all commands with one press instead of individually doing it for each character. You can even make a macro with a goal of creating some special combination attacks which are very helpful.

This time around, the encounter rate is mostly decent, but sometimes ramps up to obnoxious heights. Battles are fast though, so its rarely a problem. Certainly, I would suggest increasing the message speed to the max.

The battles are not the most involved affairs, and its a mostly very basic system. However, its fully serviceable, and the variety of characters and skills at least adds the illusion of depth to it.

Battles are OK +2
Multiple Characters: +2


"So I've wrought destruction on Motavia. What's wrong with eliminating worms?"

While this game greatly improves on its predecessors is never way, it still retains some of the archaic design choices of the past. One thing I am glad is gone are the labyrinthine mazes of the past, so that's one thing that vastly improved.

What didn't improve much is the archaic menus, while much better than before, are still obtuse. With no information on what spells or items do, you can only consult a guide to know what Tsu, Deban, or Res does. And with over 60 spells, skills, and items, its difficult to remember everything.

Even if it doesn't take forever to heal your characters like it did before, these design choices still irritate and waste some time. Also, the game's final dungeon (Which is mercifully brief) is almost offensive to the eye and should be accompanied with a seizure warning.

Caveman Design: -3

"Chaz, from now on you have to carve out your own destiny"

Outside of the final dungeon in the game, the graphics are impeccable for the time, featuring some of the best work on the Genesis. While the sprite design carries from the same style as PSII ad III, everything looks better.

That's of course most apparent when seeing the cut-scenes, which feature some excellent quality of anime-like interaction. Yet, its also apparent is some of the little touches in the game world. For example, a religious fanatic writhing in the ground with holy ecstasy.

One thing I especially liked are the battle backgrounds, which change depending on the area you are battling in; adding a level of attachment to the actual game world. Of course, the usual suspects of re-skinned enemies and such is ever present, but that it is to be expected.

Musically, the game performs well. Outside of the main theme of the game, it doesn't have a great number of memorable music. However, its a solid soundtrack that utilizes the best of the Genesis's capabilities even if it cannot rival the SNES's best.

Of note is how effective the music is utilized in some key scene; adding another dimension to them that is stronger than voice acting in its emotional power.

Very Good Graphics: +5
Good Soundtrack: +3

In Conclusion:

While PSII and III were both ambitious RPGs with some noticeable faults, the fourth game is truley where it all comes together for Sega. Here is a RPG to rival the SNES's best, and that's a great testament to its quality regardless of whether it succeeds or not.

From what I played in the Genesis, this is this the only RPG in the system that have not aged beyond playability. Instead, while it has some apparent faults, that does not overshadow and ontherwise enjoyable game.

Final: 44/50

"Tips"
1- Always buy the newest equipment.
2- Make sure to do the hunter guild missions.
3- Consult a guide for what each spell and skill do.
4- Scour the area for optional dungeons (or the net).
5- Keep Android characters in the front, and mages in the back.
6- Utilize combination attacks, and save them as part of your macro.
7- To pull of a combination attack, make sure the slowest character acts first.

"Next Game"

Now I am almost done, and the last games are clearly the cream of the crop. Phantasy Star IV is the only Genesis RPG that can even be compared to the SNES library, and it doesn't disappoint.

Next game at #1 is Sega's third Sonic game on the system, Sonic the Hedgehog 3. I liked the first Sonic game and loved the second. Generally, people debate whether the third is the best or not. This is the time for me to decide, and with it finish this review series with a bang.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:18 pm

#1

Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
Year: 1994.
Genre: Platformer.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Sega (Sonic Team).

The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread - Page 3 Latest?cb=20110614224146

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

By the time Sonic 3 was released, the 16bit console wars was already coming to close. After a strong fight in the beginning, Sega quickly lost ground to Nintendo. Especially in the back of terrible business decisions such as the Genesis CD and 32X enhancements.

While Sonic 3 is a great continuation of form to the excellent Sonic 2, Sega's business decisions actually hamper this game as well. For some reason, Sega butchered the game and later released an add-on (like physical DLC) to extend the game's length and add Knuckles.

Even if the base Sonic 3 game is not as good as the second game (or as good is it could have been without Sega butchering it), it still is a great platformer for the system.

"Sonic got through Act I.."

After Sonic 2 defined the look and feel of the franchise, Sonic 3 basically carries over and continues with it. Sonic is again the fastest platforming character around, and he has tails by his side. Before the franchise delved deep into creating the variety of inane side characters Sonic is known for, Knuckles the Echidna appeared as the original rival.

Knuckles appear in some stages, mocking sonic and creating more hazards for the player. It's a nice touch, and reminds me of Proto Man's appearances in some of the early Mega Man games.

Outside of that little character interaction, the game isn't interested in telling a story, and instead is content with having you explore its labyrinthine levels and trying to free some (you are not going to defeat all enemies) from their robotic prisons.

Except, the fact that the game doesn't add much from Sonic 2 is a little troubling. Reportedly, the game consists of cut content from the second game, and that cannot be more apparent in its levels which look very similar.

Apart from the bonus levels, there isn't much extra going on. It sure sucks the Knuckles, the only true addition, is locked out in a cartridge extension.

Varied and Iconic Levels: +3
Addition of Knuckles: +1

"Get the blue spheres"

Again, we have a game that aims for mastery rather than simple completion. Carrying over the skills and speed from the second game, Sonic can once again dash, spin, and loop-de-loop around maze-like levels in search of a perfect run.

Levels are not linear affairs, with multiple routes, hidden areas, and some great level design. Sonic's speed sees him jump from ramps, hangers, springs, bumpers, and a variety of in-level contraptions that makes the game as much a pinball cabinet as a platformer.

Playing it once, the game's speed cannot be utilized properly. Most wouldn't have the reaction time, and some would simply like to explore for rings and secrets. It's the sort of design that you get more out of the more you put in. Sure, its a fun little platformer by itself. but it gives you the tools to be a true master; doing things that look impossible to do.

The major addition to the game are three power-ups that gives Sonic some platforming edge as well as some protection. These power-ups manage to add a lot to the gameplay, and finding one of them in the levels is always a treat.

Going back to the secrets you can find, they are basically another rendition of the psuedo-3D bonus levels the franchise is known for, and they give a Chaos Emerald upon the completion of each one. With all 7 emeralds, Sonic can then become Super Sonic which just simply breaks the game.

Sure, its fun to use Super Sonic to simply go through every obstacle with ease, but I would suggest not utilizing this power-up for the best experience.

Great Gameplay: +5
Invites Mastery: +2
Super Saiyan Mode: +1
Too Short: -3

"Now Sonic can become Super Sonic"

While Sonic 3 doesn't do much to go beyond what Sonic 2 does, it is slightly better in its sprites, animation, and background. Everything looks great, with Sonic simply being being marvelous in everything from his running stride to his bored idle animations. Outside of Sonic, all other sprites look cool and well-animated. Especially the bosses

The levels look great, and besides the repetitive cues from past titles (see Carnival Zone), every level looks great with excellent animated backgrounds and a great individual style. Check out the first zone that drastically changes appearance after an in-game event.

Music is where the game takes a step back from Sonic 2. While some tracks are really great (Angle Island and Ice Cap) most simply don't rise to the high standards of the second game. I feel there was a more concentrated effort to craft more layered music, but the end product didn't sound as good as the second game even it was more complex sounds.

However, it does generally have better sound effects.

Very Good Graphics: +4
Good Sound : +3

In Conclusion:

Maybe for some people its debatable which game is better between Sonic 2 and Sonic 3, but its very clear for me. Despite being a very good platformer, Sonic 3 doesn't add anything much from its predecessor, and instead comes in with shorter length and a soundtrack that is not as good.

Even with the Knuckles add-on, I wouldn't consider Sonic 3 a better game. Without it, Sonic 3 is not the best Sonic game on the Genesis, even if its one of the console's best platformers.

Final: 41/50

"Tips"
1- Search the level around for powerups and lives.
2- If you lose a life, you can always get one at the same location you found it in the first time.
3- Collect 100 rings to get a life.
4- Look around the stage to find the secret rooms to get the Chaos Emeralds.
5- If you have no rings at all, play the game like its Ghost's and Goblins.
6- Hold of getting the 7th Emerald if you want to experience all stages normally.

"Next Game"

With this, I have completed my review of the top games in the Genesis library (those game that interested me that is). These reviews were ordered as per the Retro Sanctuary list, and I disagree with the placement of Sonic 3 at the top spot, because if you are going to put a Sonic game there than Sonic 2 is the better choice.

Now, that I have completed the review of 32 Genesis games, I am going to review the Genesis console itself. First starting with choosing its top games, and then by actually making a decision on the most important question of the 90s.

Genesis or the SNES?

Stay Tuned
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The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread - Page 3 Empty Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:21 pm






Back in the early 1990’s, I think my first console was actually the Sega Genesis. My uncle had an SNES, and my cousins had an SNES, but I had a Genesis for some reason. I only had two or three games on the console, one of them Sonic pinball. For some reason, I didn’t get any more games after that.


Instead, I asked my parent to buy me the Nintendo console and never looked back. Simply, having multiple family members with the same console meant we can share the same games.


When I first joined Destructoid, I was in the middle of a personal quest to review all of the best SNES games that I did not play before. In essence, to review the SNES through reviewing its library. After finishing that review series, I decided I would do a similar one for the Genesis; a console I did not give enough of a chance before.



The console design was never the best, and thost gamepads were terrible


As such, I found a list of top 100 Genesis games at Retrosanctuary.com and decided to review the games that interested me in that list. Now, that I have reviewed over 30 Genesis games and have decided on a top 10 list, I think it is time to review the console itself:


Biggest Strengths:


2D Graphics:



This will forever look good


You will find that the Genesis and the SNES share a number of strengths and weaknesses; the biggest shared strength being the fact that both consoles continued pushing the limits of 2D graphics for 16bit games.


Unlike the early polygonal models of the generation after it, the 2D sprites and backgrounds of the fourth generation held up really well. That’s why the majority of the good games on either system still hold up to this day.


They are simply not an assault on your eyes, but look great both now and for their time.


Unique Sound:


I like the 16bit midi music. The Genesis’s sound chip was very different from the SNES, and that meant its sounds while similar in some way, was widely different in others. Decidedly more chip-tune than Nintendo’s console, the Genesis had some unique sounds.


This culminated in the soundtrack for Sonic 2, but also other games like Ecco: The Tides of Time and Phantasy Star IV.


True, the Genesis library did not have any soundtracks that in my opinion could rival the likes of Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, and Donkey Kong Country. However, its sound was nevertheless a unique strength in some ways.


Strong Arcade Ports:


One aspect that I think the Genesis was superior to the SNES is in its arcade ports. I simply did not care much for the arcade ports on the SNES, but they more or less worked to a better degree on the Genesis.


While I think that Arcade ports are generally not the best games on the console, some people really like those games. In fact, many of the Genesis games cater to that arcade mentality, with a focus on the mastery of limited content rather than having longer and more elaborate games.


Biggest Weaknesses:


Memory:


Like with the SNES, the cartridges of the day meant there was a hard limit to the games on the system. Everything in the game consumed some of that finite memory space, and that had cascading effects on all aspects of game design.


Generally, games had to decided between length and spectacle. Translations from Japanese text was fraught with memory concerns. Content was cut due to space considerations.


Sega actually tried to address that by releasing the lock-on cartridges. Basically, physical expansions that locked into the cartridge of choice; expanding its scope. However, the costs were prohibitive for most people and memory remained a concern for the duration of the console’s lifespan.


Unique Sound:


Wait a minute, didn’t I just put this in as one of the console’s strengths?


The Genesis’s sound design was a double-edged sword, capable of both creating great tunes and some tracks that could be used as enhanced interrogation techniques. Seriously, the number of games with terribly grating sound nearly equals those with great soundtracks.


However, its not only the fact that you could make some abominable music that’s the problem, but also that unless composers were specifically talented, the soundtrack would all muddle into each other with little to no distinction between the various tracks.


The Genesis Add-Ons:



That's a lot of add-ons with limited use


In its competition with the SNES, Sega were almost desperate in the way they wanted to add further power to the Genesis. This culminated in the release of two add-ons to the system, the Sega CD and Sega 32X. Two add-ons that basically split the console’s install base and, in many ways, ruined Sega’s reputation.


Envisioned as a stop-gap to the Sega Saturn, these two add-ons were confusing to customers, having little of value in regards to original games, and ultimately sold miserably.


Perhaps less a weakness to the Genesis and more to Sega itself. The legacy of these add-on is a contribution to the failure of the Saturn.


Limited Strong 3rd Party Support:


You cannot claim that 3rd party support wasn’t available on the Genesis. However, you can claim that 3rd parties kept their A game on the SNES. Generally, ports were ok, but the best games of the generation from Capcom, Squaresoft, Enix, and others have skipped Sega’s console.


Only early on did the Genesis have some strong 3rd party support, but by the end of the console’s lifespan they were singlehandedly carrying it on their back.


That is something that Nintnedo will end up doing in the future.


Top Three Genres:


It’s fascinating to see how two 16it consoles basically ended up catering to the same audience, but also having some differentiating factors. These three genres were generally the best represented (in quantity and quality) on the Genesis:


Platformers:


Sega knew that the battle was to be won on the schoolyards and in what kids wanted for Christmas. Which is why they needed to counteract Nintendo’s mastery of the genre by creating their own mascot platformer; Sonic the Hedgehog.


Outside of Sonic, there weren’t that many great platformers, but there was of course a great number of them.


Action:


The action genre can be divided into three sub genres on the Genesis, all of which were represented well.


Beat ‘em Ups were never my cup of tea, but games like Streets of Rage and Comix Zone are heavily lauded by fans of the genre.


Run & Gun and Action Platformers are ore my style, which is why I enjoyed the Ninja Gaiden series (the last game only), Catlevania: Bloodlines, and of course the two best Run & Gun games on the 16bit era: Gunstar Heroes and Contra: Hard Corps.


Shmups:



I am not one who mastered this complex genre


Another genre that I am not too fond off (mostly because I am not that good in it), but that shines here especially due to the quality arcade ports.


Shmups are basically the scrolling shooters (or Shoot ‘em Up) games that go from slower paced affairs to full on Bullet Hell games. The Genesis’s unique sound was especially appreciated on those games.


Top Three Publishers:


Sega:


It goes without saying that the platform holder is usually one of the top publishers as well. However, in this case its more notable due to the fact that Sega basically single handedly carried the console by itself. Nearly every major game was either developed by Sega or at least published by them.


Desperate for more games to counter the SNES dominance with, Sega published games from a myriad of developers, hitting every genre. Many of those game would go on to become iconic franchises for Sega, but a lot of them have just disappeared with time.


Of the iconic franchises, Sega themselves worked in developing Sonic, Shinobi, and Phantasy Star. But they also published the Shining Force games, Ecco the Dolphin, and all the game developed by Treasure.



Sonic taught Mario how to carry a console on his back


Konami:


Of the legendary Japanese developers of the day, Konami were the only ones to bring their A game to the Genesis. During the 16bit era, it seemed that for every title Konami made for the SNES, they made a similar title (but different) for the Genesis.


Two games that stand out are Contra: Hard Corps, which is one of the best Run & Gun games of the generation, and Castlevania: Bloodlines, which is one of the best Action games of the generation.


Capcom:


It can’t be said that Capcom practically did their best for the Genesis. They were almost forced by Sega to delay a planned Street Fighter II release in order to put in some of the features they were adding for the SNES, and the final version of the game didn’t live up to the legendary status of the game.


Otherwise, they made some really good Arcade ports, such as the port for Strider and Ghouls ‘n Ghosts.


In Conclusion:



Most of these games are not worth your time, but some are real gems


The 16bit generation will always be remembered for the console war between the SNES and the Genesis. This mostly services the Genesis legacy though, as it benefits greatly from its comparison with the giant that is the SNES.


Otherwise, a great number of the Genesis titles are seriously dated today, with many of them not worth the tie and effort to play them.


However, there is still a small number of titles that truly aged well, and those showcases what the Genesis was truly capable off. Those games are still worth playing today.



Lord Spencer
Lord Spencer
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