The Sega Genesis had a world of titles, some of which were classics (Sonic), some of which were laughably bad (Zero Wing features dialog so poorly translated that it created an Internet meme). Today, I present to you a group of games that didn't gain a lot of fame on the console (either way), but make fun additions to your collection, or are at a minimum ROMs you should check out (a-hem! Play the original cart, kids!).
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1. Blaster Master 2 - The sequel to the NES title made its appearance on the Sega Genesis. Somehow, people didn't catch on to the fact that the game had been released, and over time the game has faded a bit from memory.
In Blaster Master 2, a bolt of lightning strikes, destroying your ride from the first Blaster Master. The "bolt of lightning" was actually bad guys ripping your super car apart, and now they're using your vehicle parts to enhance their powers. You build a new, better ride, and go after these new enemies.
It's amazing to me how quickly Blaster Master 2 fell off the radar after it was released. It was released to mediocre reviews, but I think that the game's arcade-style action, great graphics, fun music, and nostalgia make it a worthy game to check out.
2. Cool Spot - Cool Spot by Virgin Games was basically a gigantic advertisement for 7Up. Why was it a good game? Mostly, the animation. Within a year, Virgin released several games featuring stunning hand-drawn animation, like Alladin, Mick and Mack: Global Gladiators, and more. Cool Spot was one of the first of these titles. For the time, games stood out on the Genesis as having much, much higher quality than previous efforts on the system.
Cool Spot featured the 7Up dot (yes, the dot had arms, legs, and sunglasses - and ATTITUDE) running and jumping through several levels, collecting bubbles and basically being cool.
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3. Cyberball - OK, so Cyberball is kind of my "cop out" game. If you grew up in the Genesis era, you knew all about Cyberball, because you were busy kicking your friends' butts in the game. Cyberball is robotic football, and it's plays almost identical to the Madden games of the time. The difference is that you're FREAKING ROBOT KILLERS, and the tackles are insane. Not to mention you're given an exploding ball. Cyberball is hilarious fun that everyone should play at least once.
4. Desert Strike: Return To The Gulf - I definitely have a soft spot for well executed top-down shooters, and Desert Strike is no exception to that rule. You're the pilot of a bad-ass helicopter, and your job is to blow up everything. Even though there's not much to say about it, I absolutely love it. Check both Jungle Strike and Desert Strike out ASAP.
5. Gaiares - Renovation actually produced advertisements for Gaiares with a pronounciation guide: It's pronounced "Guy R Us". That's right, it's manly. Gaiares is a 2D, side scrolling shooter - it was quickly passed over, because of the massive superiority of its near twin, Thunder Force III (which is, bar none, one of the absolute best 2D shooters). Gaiares is unforgiving in its difficulty, not because of "bullet hell", but because it punished death so harshly. Nonetheless, Gaiares features some of the most gorgeous graphics on the system and deserves a look for those up to the challenge.
6. John Madden Football '93: Championship Edition- Not too many people have played this Blockbuster exclusive version of Madden 93. This is a more refined version of Madden 93, featuring more teams, and if my eyes don't decieve me, better animation. It's worth a look for comparison's sake, and even though it's somewhat rare, it's also not that hard to pick up.
7. Mick And Mack: Global Gladiators - Ah, McDonald's. You've sponsored many games, and we love you for that. Mick and Mack has you running from level to level with slime-powered super soakers, battling all sorts of bad-for-the-earth guys. It's cartoony animations, and floaty controls are pretty fun. This light-hearted game makes for a nice diversion, and there's quite a bit of polish here for a sponsored game. Check it out if you can.
8. Out of This World - "Rotoscoping". Before Out of This World, not too many people knew what that word meant, outside the animation arena. Out of This World is the story of a man that escapes an alien prison, and the alien friend that he meets on the way. It first made its home on the PC, and while the PC has a slight graphical advantage, nearly nothing was lost in this wonderful translation over to the Genesis. For the time, this game was stunningly fluid, and the puzzles as you worked your way through the levels were both fun and appropriate. This is one of the few side-scrollers with a story to tell, too - it's definitely worth a look.
9. Sub-Terrania- Sub-Terrania is basically Lunar Lander, but with a few neat twists. Saying that this game is Lunar Lander should tell you immediately whether or not you'll like this one. Naturally, the graphics are quite good. There are a few mechanics added to the game, like attaching yourself to rails, and the shooting aspect of the game. The game also features boss fights, and they're pretty satisfying.
You know - I almost made this list go to 10, because I wanted to include Beyond Oasis. However, I just started playing the game, so I'm not really even to the point where I can make an intelligent paragraph about the game. My initial impressions place this game somewhere between Alladin and Legend of Zelda - it has the animation of Alladin, and the mechanics of a Zelda. As of right now, I say "give this one a try too."