"If there were any mistakes made in the launch of SNES, the timing a year and a half after the Genesis was not one of them. By the end of 1991, our installed base in the US 16-bit market was greater than Sega's, even though Sega had been there since 1989. It was after that point that Sega did a lot of things very well, in terms of pricing games like Sonic the Hedgehog, and in terms of marketing."
- Howard Lincoln, Next Generation August 1995

The explosive finale!
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
24 megabits

After a lengthy delay, Phantasy Star IV finally arrived on North American shores in early 1995. It was worth the wait, playing like a true sequel to Phantasy Star II, only with more of everything.

Widely varied and detailed graphics, including backgrounds for the battle scenes, as well as all-new comic book style cinema sequences are featured throughout the game. Side quests, battle combo moves called macros, and vehicular combat comprise some of the additional new game play elements. The sprawling storyline is equally impressive, with a host of compelling characters and an excellent English translation.

The music in Phantasy Star IV also deserves special mention, with a huge variety of great tracks by Izuho "Ippo" Takeuchi and Masaki "Gaki Chan" Nakagaki. Sadly, Tokuhiko "Bo" Uwabo isn't involved as a composer this time around, although the game does feature remixes of a couple of his tunes from the original Phantasy Star on the Master System.

Phantasy Star IV is like a "greatest hits" of the series up to this point, taking all of the elements that worked well in previous games and improving upon them, while jettisoning anything remaining that didn't. While I still have a nostalgic soft spot for part II, Phantasy Star IV remains one of the best games on the Genesis, and one of my favourite games of all time. It's about time Sega offered Rieko Kodama a stack of cash to make another sequel...

"Never before has the Sega RPG gamer experienced such fantastic art, music, and gameplay, and the levels of joy reached while playing this title may cause even the oldest RPG hand to suffocate with the absolute magnificence of it all."
- Nick Rox, GameFan April 1995

"Sega's testing the RPG waters with this title, it's 85 bucks in a paper box with Xerox instructions, and the bonehead magazines have already done completely wrong and damaging reviews."
- Skid, GameFan April 1995

"If you're one of the many RPG-starved Genesis owners who have been waiting diligently for this game, don't worry — it's still plenty of fun. But with nothing that goes above or beyond the previous titles — including the same 'mysterious' end boss — the future of this series isn't very bright."
- Next Generation March 1995

Meep meep!
Desert Demolition
16 megabits

Another Looney Tunes licensed game, Desert Demolition received decent reviews upon release for its fluid animation and frenetic action.

"I guess it was just a matter of time before some competent programmers got a hold of this mega license. Now you can wake up on Saturday mornings and play it!"
- Nick Rox, GameFan March 1995

"The incredible animation and perfect sound effects make this game a treat to play or watch, it's just too bad the six levels are so short and easy. Still a renter."
- Next Generation April 1995

Somewhat lacking in critical Acclaim...
16 megabits

There seem to have been a lot of Spider-Man games released by Sega over the years, but in this case Acclaim was responsible for the web-slinging festivities. Reviews were mixed.

"Spider-Man follows in a long line of games that are exactly the same with a few costume changes."
- Next Generation June 1995

The flaming balls of NBA Jam TE.
24 megabits

Acclaim's updated version of NBA Jam hit multiple consoles in 1995, featuring similar gameplay but with new features and updated rosters.

"Basically NBA Jam T.E. is the same two-on-two high-flying action as the original with a few additions that do everything but enhance gameplay."
- Next Generation April 1995

Real players. Unreal teams.
Tecmo Super Hockey
16 megabits

Tecmo's horizontally scrolling hockey game arrived on the Genesis in 1995, but didn't appear to garner much attention in the gaming press at the time. No doubt most players held out for the latest version of EA's NHL series instead...

Reserve your copy today!
Tecmo Super Bowl II: Special Edition
16 megabits

For whatever reason, Tecmo apparently shipped "extremely limited" quantities of Tecmo Super Bowl II: Special Edition to retailers. Despite its rarity, however, the game can currently be snagged on Ebay for about $50 Canadian, so it's not exactly Panzer Dragoon Saga...

"The Genesis version of Tecmo Super Bowl 2 is equal to its SNES counterpart in every way. The graphics and sound show tremendous improvement over previous Tecmo product and, as always, Tecmo has provided the player with a well presented, detailed NFL simulation that has been written specifically for the toughest football critic and fan."
- Talko, GameFan March 1995

We had a lot of time to prepare.
Mortal Kombat II
32 megabits

Mortal Kombat II finally arrived on the 32X in early 1995, providing a much more arcade-like experience than the Genesis conversion that preceded it.

"Coin-op control, awesome sound, and Kitana in high res! Who could ask for anything more?"
- Takahara, GameFan March 1995

"Now, five months later, Genesis owners can play the same game SNES owners are already tired of playing. All they have to do is shell out $150 bucks for a 32X and another $70 for the cart.."
- Next Generation May 1995

Just like Feudal Japan.
Samurai Shodown

The Sega CD received this reasonable conversion of Samurai Shodown in 1995, but despite the extra storage space of the CD-ROM format, popular character Earthquake is still missing from this release.

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