“SSEEEEGGGAAAAA”. Does anyone else get chills just thinking about this classic console start-up? Back in the early to mid-90s the Sega Mega Drive was the ultimate game changer for legions of gamers worldwide. Just hearing the term Sega instantly brings back thoughts and feelings of old-school nostalgia and memories of the countless hours lost each weekend in the era before the memory card. The Mega Drive was by far Sega’s best console, it had a huge catalogue of games and launched the career of a red shoe wearing, blue hedgehog called Sonic.
Britain’s favourite console may be over a quarter of a century old, but from Gunstar Heroes to James Pond through to Sonic and Knuckles, we want to know what are the best Sega Mega Drive games of all time? So sit back and relax, grab your Sega Nomad and six AA batteries while we countdown the games that we believe to be the best Sega Mega Drive games of all time...
The best Sega Mega Drive games of all time…
You have to agree that this has to be one of the most frustrating games of all time! Lemmings quickly became one of the most popular games across all consoles of all time. Originally designed for PC, players had to guide a percentage of the green haired small folk from a trap door to the exit by using their skills of building staircases, digging holes and becoming bombs to stop the many Lemmings from meeting their maker.
Ecco the Dolphin
Despite its child-like appearance the Ecco the Dolphin series was known for its intentionally high difficulty levels that offered little to no tips or clues to help players navigate the levels from the Atlantic to Atlantis. It was a game designed to be so difficult that no-one could simply rent the game for a weekend and have it beat.
Sensible Soccer was a game so great that it still has a large cult following today. It has topped many charts since its release of the best sport based games of all time. Before the days of FIFA and Pro Evo, Sensi offered its players a new, better view, obscure foreign teams and a user friendly controller system.
X-Men II: Clone Wars
Clone Wars was one of the first games to allow players to use superpowers as often as they wanted, just like the character would do. Gone were the days of saving up Cyclops’ Optic Blasts while having to punch and kick his foes to death. Released in 1995, the game was released to capitalise on the success of everyone’s favourite Saturday morning mutant saving cartoon series. The only disappointment with this game had to be Beast’s poor special attack powers when compared to the other X-Men!
This is a game series that many (quietly) refer to as the greatest fighting game of all time. Originally an arcade game, the Street Fighter franchise made its way into the mainstream and appeared on televisions and home systems worldwide in 1992. It was a franchise so great that it has gone on to earn over $4 billion since its inception.
Of the many run and gun games that the Sega Mega Drive had to offer Gunstar Heroes was something else entirely. The levels were colourful, eventually you could get your hands on 14 different weapons and the bad guys were some of the best rendered characters in the Mega Drive’s history!
The WWF series of Sega games were some of our favourite wrestling games here in the 8ball offices. The Royal Rumble outing gets a special mention due to one thing, it was the first time we could complete in the actual Royal freaking Rumble! It offered no holds barred action, including the use of steel chairs and illegal moves for the first time and the roster has to be our dream roster! Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Razor Ramon, Shaun Michaels, Ric Flair, Randy Savage and Mr Perfect and the legend that was Yokozuna!
A game based on an earthworm named Jim who runs around with a gun and wears a robotic suit… this was a guaranteed hit straight from conception! The advert was banned in many states in the US due to its gross out nature (an old lady tells a bedtime story about Earthworm Jim while eating worms). This game features some of our favourite named villains in gaming history including Queen Slug-for-a-butt, Psy-Crow, Evil the Cat and Bob the Killer Goldfish.
Golden Axe is known as a side-scrolling, beat ‘em up, magic blastin’, hack and slash arcade game. Inspired by the Conan the Barbarian and He Man universes, Golden Axe was the only game that allowed the player to play as a dwarf, an amazon and a barbarian. Thinking back to everyone’s favourite level, the dragon riding level makes us feel all warm and nostalgic inside…
Mickey’s Castle of Illusion
Mickey’s Castle of Illusion was the first game in Sega's long-running Illusion video game series starring Mickey and also played a major part in the second wave of games initially released for the Sega Mega Drive which helped to seal the console's reputation until the release of Sonic the Hedgehog in 1991. It was by no means the best Disney game that the Sega had to offer, please see Aladdin review below, but it was pretty damn addictive!
The Mortal Kombat series is one of the best known game series that Sega had to offer for one main reason – it was gory as hell! For the first time players got to finally see the blood shed that they had been craving for years and gained it the title of “Most controversial game of 1993”. The final result was a truly solid one or two player fighter that was great for diehards and button mashers alike.
Toejam and Earl
How many games have a secret planet that allows its characters to chill in a hot tub with a glass of lemonade? There has never been another game like Toejam and Earl! A game that takes the two coolest aliens of all time from level to level in a lift while having to collect pieces of their spaceship so they can get home to Funkotron. Throughout the levels the pair collect presents that contain power ups to stop them from being attacked by bees, moles, sharks and the enchanting hula girls. This game was truly ‘Jammin’
Streets of Rage
The second Streets of Rage has continually been voted as one of the top Sega games of all time. It brought a generation of gamers a better beat ‘em up side scroller with better designed levels, characters and moves than your average beat ‘em up side scrolling game. We’ve read an article that suggests it should be renamed Streets of Joy, which is a campaign that we can very much get behind.
The Aladdin game was released in 1993, one year after the movie and went on the be the third best-selling Sega game of all time behind Sonic The Hedgehog and Sonic 2. We remember the hours spent playing with Aladdin, throwing apples and using his sword, playing the Abu and Genie bonus rounds and struggling to get out of the Cave of Wonders alive past that damn lava.
Sonic the Hedgehog
There are no words that we could use that could describe just how amazing Sonic the Hedgehog is. This was a game that brought speed to our screens, a simple concept, originally called Mr Needlemouse that has gone on to become a billion dollar enterprise. A favourite among the team has to be Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It introduced us to Miles ‘Tails’ Prower, two player level gaming and the 3D half pipe “special stages”.
Here we have a mega Sega men's t-shirt featuring the Sega Mega Drive in technical drawn blue print style design in white print. The design features the original gaming device logo at the top, the cartridge, console and controller are illustrated. This is a fully licensed product.
So there it is, the 8ball countdown of the best Sega Mega Drive games of all time. Do you think that we've missed any? Let us know in the comments below or head on over to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and let us know your thoughts.