1989-1990
An early Genesis games poster. A Genesis television commercial. It's missing the first few seconds, but other than that it's perfectly okay...

A revised version of the "Genesis Does It All" ad, which corrects the screenshot for Zoom and adds a few newer titles to the list.
Forgotten Worlds
Sega
4 megabits

A translation of the Capcom arcade game of the same name, Forgotten Worlds is a side-scrolling shooter with a weird control scheme and Space Harrier-esque floating guys in spandex. The graphics are decidedly first-gen stuff, but the two-player cooperative mode is a lot of fun.

"Each of the game's seven levels has its own unique creatures and machines of destruction, all graphically stunning. In fact, Forgotten Worlds is such a beautiful game that you may find yourself appreciating the scenery when you should be fighting."
- Buyer's Guide, Game Player's Sega Genesis Strategy Guide Fall 1990

Despite what this ad had to say, "Wrestle War" wasn't coming any time soon...
Rambo III
Sega
4 megabits

I don't know much about this game, but it was apparently good enough to warrant a six page spread in the May 1990 issue of Game Player's...

"In some ways, Rambo III works better as a videogame than as a movie."
- Buyer's Guide, Game Player's Sega Genesis Strategy Guide Fall 1990

... and neither was Spider Man!
Ghouls 'n Ghosts
Sega
5 megabits

An excellent conversion of the Capcom arcade game, programmed by none other than Sonic Team's Yuji Naka.

The graphics are a touch weaker than the original version, but the gameplay is spot-on and just as challenging. As with many games of this period, the visuals in this conversion would likely have more closely mirrored the arcade original's if the developers had used an 8 or even a 16 megabit cartridge. The penultimate stage in particular is missing some parallax scrolling that was present in the arcade.

Also worthy of note is Ghouls 'n Ghosts' crystal clear music and sound. Why so many later Genesis soundtracks sounded muffled and grungy remains a mystery to me, especially with the larger cartridge sizes that became available in the mid-90s.

One of the Genesis system's best arcade conversions, and still one of my favourite games, if you haven't played Ghouls 'n Ghosts... er, there's something wrong with you!

"This game's most impressive accomplishment is in showing how closely the Genesis can approach the sound and graphics of a coin-op arcade game... It's one of the most impressive arcade translations ever designed for a home videogame system."
- Buyer's Guide, Game Player's Sega Genesis Strategy Guide Fall 1990

We bring the arcade experience home... for the most part... er, moreso than anybody else, anyway!
Golden Axe
Sega
4 megabits

Yet another Sega arcade conversion for the Genesis system. Very similar to the arcade, but with slightly toned-down graphics and sound effects.

I've never been a huge fan of the Golden Axe series. The Genesis game always felt too short and repetitive for me (despite the fact that it actually had more levels than the arcade version), but I guess I'm in the minority.

The dwarf was cool, though...

"The background story, characters, and graphics are virtually identical to the coin-op version."
- Buyer's Guide, Game Player's Sega Genesis Strategy Guide Fall 1990

Not an arcade game, but an arcade experience!
The Revenge of Shinobi
Sega
4 megabits

The Revenge of Shinobi is a surprisingly lengthy and varied action/platformer, for a first-generation Genesis game. Neat graphical effects are used throughout, such as the eerily realistic colour-cycling waterfall in one stage.

The music in Shinobi is also uniformly superb. It's not an exaggeration to say that nearly half of this game's appeal lies in its soundtrack, which was composed by Yuzo Koshiro back before he started designing his own crappy games like Legend of Oasis :)

"This is easily one of the most impressive martial arts games available for any system."
- Buyer's Guide, Game Player's Sega Genesis Strategy Guide Fall 1990

"Real arcade classics like Space Harrier II"... which was never in the arcades!
Super Hang-On
Sega
4 megabits

Considering the limited size of the cartridge ROM and the Genesis system's lack of hardware scaling, Super Hang-On was a surprisingly good translation of the arcade game. Better still was the Genesis version's unique "original mode", which married arcade racing action with an RPG-esque storyline. The arcade mode was all well and good, but what could compare with racing against anime-style opponents like Mia Ferraru so that you could afford to hire Mickey Wei as your mechanic?! The long summer nights just flew by...

Super Hang-On was subsequently re-released as part of a six game combo-cartridge which also featured such games as Sonic The Hedgehog and The Revenge of Shinobi.

"While the graphics for all four courses are of near-arcade quality, the background scenery for the European course is especially nice, with the Eiffel Tower looming impressively against the nighttime sky of Paris."
- Buyer's Guide, Game Player's Sega Genesis Strategy Guide Fall 1990

Truxton, one of many Genesis shooters released in 1990...
Truxton
Sega
4 megabits

Truxton, which is a game I have never played, is based on a Toaplan arcade game, which I have also never played.

I remember going into my local Compucentre and trying to decide whether to buy Truxton or Mystic Defender. In the end, Mystic Defender won out, largely because of how dull Truxton's screenshots looked. I'm apparently one of three people who actually sort of *liked* Mystic Defender (trust me, it grows on you), so I guess I made the right choice...

"Sure, Truxton is another shooter, but shooters have always been popular games. And with state-of-the-art 16-bit graphics and sound, this game and many like it will be popular for years to come."
- Buyer's Guide, Game Player's Sega Genesis Strategy Guide Fall 1990

Zoom!
Sega
4 megabits

I rather like Zoom, although I suppose I might have been disappointed if I had paid full price for it. The music is pleasant and unobtrusive, and the way the game grids scale and rotate towards you at the beginning of each stage was kind of impressive for the time. An acquired taste!

"Zoom! isn't the most absorbing or exciting game around, although it does provide a welcome alternative to the many scrolling shoot-em-ups that populate the world of Genesis games."
- Buyer's Guide, Game Player's Sega Genesis Strategy Guide Fall 1990

Mystic Defender
Sega
4 megabits

Few games create a sense of atmosphere as well as Mystic Defender does. The music, in particular, helps create a dark, heavy, and depressing mood. Largely because of its unique sense of style, this game has always remained a particularly memorable one for me, even though the gameplay itself falls rather neatly into the side-scrolling action/platform genre.

Mystic Defender was released several years before the game industry started using any sort of ratings system, so a few "questionable elements" made their way into the game which might not have had it been released any later. There's a bit of anime-style nudity during the final boss encounter, but rather more disturbing are the strange childlike creatures in stage two which burst into pulsating puddles of goo when you shoot them. The editors of Game Player's Magazine weren't far wrong when they called the game "graphically violent at times"...

"The artwork in this game is nothing short of spectacular. The scenes have great depth, with the carefully scrolling backgrounds and three-dimensional look we've come to expect (and always appreciate) in Genesis games."
- Buyer's Guide, Game Player's Sega Genesis Strategy Guide Fall 1990

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