Sega produces yet another Genesis games poster... ...and Renovation whores out their wares to the unsuspecting masses!

I don't know if I'd exactly call Fatal Labyrinth an RPG, but this was back in the days when Sega actually liked associating themselves with the genre...
Fatal Labyrinth
2 megabits

After the one-two punch of Phantasy Star II and Sword of Vermillion, Fatal Labyrinth was billed as the next great RPG from Sega. In reality, the game was really more of an action/adventure title with a unique ability to try your patience...

Fatal Labyrinth features only one, large... er, fatal labyrinth... and no overworld to speak of, aside from the small village from whence you start your adventure. Each level in the labyrinth is completely randomised, however, so in that respect replay value is fairly high.

Eliminating the baddies strewn throughout the labyrinth is accomplished by bumping up against them and whacking away until the party with the lower stats dies. In the background, the same repetitive tune drones on and on and on, encouraging player suicide and making the game potentially more fatal than Sega had intended...

The main problem with Fatal Labyrinth, though, is that it doesn't offer any sort of save-game feature. You turn the console off, you start over. The only alternative is to leave your Genesis system on all night while you get some sleep, but given just how engrossing this game is I doubt many players ever bothered.

Still, better RPGs from Sega were just around the corner...

"Sega's Genesis has garnered a reputation as being the machine to own if you're hot on adventure games. Role-playing contests like Phantasy Star II have attracted critical praise from reviewers and gamers alike, while Genesis' major competition, the TurboGrafx-16, continues to be weak in the adventure category. Sega's new role-playing game, however, isn't going to do much to help Sega hold their reputation."
- Clayton Walnum, VG&CE April 1991

"Even though the mazes change constantly, the game play itself never changes, let alone the music! How irritating! ... Since no passwords exist, you can only finish in one sitting. Yikes!"
- Steve Harris, EGM's 1992 Video Game Buyer's Guide

"Fans of serious repetition should check this cart out."
- Dave, Mega Play March/April 1991

Looks like Koei had some competition in the war sim department...
Warrior Of Rome
8 megabits

Perhaps the success of Koei's historical war simulations on the NES convinced Micronet to produce Warrior of Rome for the Genesis system. The world may never know the answer to that question, but this game was received well enough critically and commercially to warrant the release of a sequel later in the year.

Warrior of Rome received an honourable mention in the "Best Military-Strategy Video Game" category in Video Games & Computer Entertainment's third annual game awards.

"War games may not appeal to everybody, but Warrior of Rome is solid, lengthy and easy-to-play, and serves as a great introduction to the genre. It'll also entertain those who already have a fondness for war games, though it's a bit on the elementary side compared to many computer war games."
- Joshua Mandel, VG&CE June 1991

Rastan Saga II
4 megabits

A translation of the original Rastan game was released in North America for the Sega Master System. This would be its sequel, as indicated by the Roman numeral "II" in the title... Haven't played this one, I'm afraid, but in screenshots it appears to be a rather run-of-the-mill action/platformer with mythical overtones.

8 megabits

For reasons unknown, Taito decided to release Darius for the Genesis system in North America as Sagaia, despite the fact that few would be able to figure out how to pronounce the new title...

This game had previously been released for the PC Engine CD-ROM system in Japan, so the gaming press were perhaps unsuprisingly not impressed with the sound and music in the cartridge version. That being said, Sagaia was an 8 megabit game in the days when 4 megs was still the norm, so it should have held up pretty well visually.

My experience with this series is limited to the brilliant Darius Gaiden on the Sega Saturn, which featured a stunningly unique soundtrack by Zuntata. The soundtrack for that game really helped sell its dark atmosphere, so I can see how lacklustre tuneage in Sagaia might have ruined the game for some...

"Another 8 Meg monster to buy for the memory muncher. The most impressive thing about this game is not its amazing graphics (and they are amazing), but the fact that it has a total of 28 different levels!"
- Martin Alessi, EGM's 1992 Video Game Buyer's Guide

"The only thing that annoys me is the sound, other than that a very good shooter."
- Bart, Mega Play March/April 1991

Space Invaders 91
4 megabits

This game was released as Space Invaders 90 in Japan. I guess Taito decided to take their sweet time in releasing it over here and ended up having to change the title!

Free glove? I'm there, dude!
Air Buster
4 megabits

Another entry in the long, long line of side-scrolling Genesis shooters. Still, Kaneko's advertisements for the game stated that you could send away for a free "video glove" with purchase, so at least their marketing department was cooking up some original ideas.

Air Buster was also released for the TurboGrafx-16 system. No, I'm not sure which version was better :)

Wow! One whole screenshot of actual game-play!
4 megabits

I've never been big on puzzle games in general, so Junction never graced my Genesis library. Still, games like this helped keep the Genesis library as diverse as possible.

From the people who brought you Atomic Robo Kid...
Street Smart
4 megabits

Street Smart was a rather poorly received side-scrolling fighting game by Treco. It appears to have rightfully been forgotten in the wake of much better Genesis beat-em-ups like Streets of Rage. I suppose an argument could be made that Treco blazed the trail, though...

"Here's a game that tries to be Final Fight for the Genesis. It has a nice look and feel to it, but the diversity in the rounds and the opponents you face isn't great enough to keep it from becoming repetitive."
- Steve Harris, EGM July 1991

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