Mega Drive: the 30 best games on the SEGA console

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Marie-Ange Demory
@marie-angedemory
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The Mega Drive was one of the best video games ever. Popular for being the version that fit in the pocket of many parents, unlike the giants Playstation and Super Nintendo, the console was successful in the 90s.

Only those who had one know how fun it was to get home, blow the tapes and vibrate every time the famous "SEGA" appeared on the small screen. Playing Mega Drive was special and a show of resilience, after all it was the only console on the market that didn't have an option to save the game.



In those of playing until you turn (or even lose a finger), the Mega Drive ended up having exclusive games that not only were part of many people's childhood but are still remembered and remastered today. Check out the top 30 below!

30. Ecco The Dolphin

Dolphin games may seem childish and it is true, but there is always an exception to the cause. Released in 1992, Ecco The Dolphin was a famous action-adventure game, as the main character was a dolphin who traveled through time to save the world.

At first glance, the game is deceiving: it looks cute. However, it is one of the scariest games of the time. In the beginning, you are a happy dolphin swimming with your little friends. When you jump out of the water everything starts to change.

A huge hurricane disappears with all the marine life leaving Ecco completely alone. This is where the real adventure begins! You, or rather the dolphin, have to face countless enemies to find out what's going on.

This marine vortex was so striking that the 16-bit game was published in digital format in 2006 on Nintendo's Virtual Console.


29. Road Rash


Already at the time of 16-bit consoles, games that simulated cracks between vehicles were successful. Road Rash was focused exclusively on motorcycles and allowed players to take down their opponents on the road. It was also necessary to dodge random cars and escape the police. Almost a two-wheeled Need for Speed.

The game gained prominence for the increasing level of difficulty. With each new race, the length of the tracks increased, the opponents became faster and more aggressive, as well as the police. At the end of the disputes, money was obtained to buy new motorcycles, repair the old ones or pay bail so as not to be arrested.

In fact, the game over in Road Rash was really frustrating: if you couldn't pay bail or couldn't fix your bikes, that's it. I had to start everything from scratch.

28. Shinobi III

Shinobi III is just one of several titles in the franchise. All were good. But III presented a more fluid, fast gameplay, focused on fun and not so much on difficulty. The character had several new abilities compared to the previous title, such as being able to climb walls.

The character's ninjitsu techniques were the coolest part of the game. There were only four, being able to use only one per phase. Unless she found herself with power bonuses, which gave her more chances to pass the level without dying.

This was important, as Shinobi III was one of the most difficult titles on the Mega Drive.


27. Gunstar Heroes

A frantic shooter, with dozens of things happening at the same time, lots of action and fun. Gunstar Heroes is one of the many side scrolling shooter games of this generation. There were several weapon options, fourteen in total, as well as being able to use melee attacks. There was even stealth action in the game.


Gunstar Heroes is very reminiscent of the Metal Slug franchise, in the way the gameplay develops. It was possible to continue the game unlimited form after the deaths, something positive, due to the ease of dying. The bosses were insane, made up of multiple parts and containing absurd firepower.

26. Virtua Racing

Virtua Racing was one of the big names in Mega Drive racing games. It had some problems, however: high cartridge price and graphical and gameplay problems. It was an attempt by SEGA to adapt a powerful arcade game to a 16-bit console that wasn't that powerful.

Anyway, it deserves to be highlighted for SEGA's feat of putting such power in a small cartridge. Even with glitches and graphics problems, Virtua Racing was a must-have game for speed lovers. At least for those who could afford $100 on a single game. Heavy...

25. Out Run

Out Run is not a racing game, but it is a car game. Confused? So it is. A lot of people didn't understand anything at the time of release. But as players experienced the title, they began to realize the goal: to reach their destination before time ran out.


When we understood the game, everything was fun. Riding through paradisiacal scenarios in big cars, with a Beach Boys-like soundtrack, made the gameplay almost a dream. Next to her is a beautiful woman, whom you must impress with all the speed of your machine.

Anyway: a simple game, easy to play and with the sole objective of simulating a summer walk. There were several paths and cities to go through, as well as being able to choose between more than one car. One of them was a red Ferrari, a dream of every child in love with cars.


24. California Games

In our country, the California Games was known as Summer Games. Not popular abroad, but among BR players it was a phenomenon. It simply combined a lot to sit with friends on hot days, drinking soda and racking your brains to do well in the six modalities of the game.

Freesbee, surfing, skateboarding, skating, juggling and BMX bikes were the game's modalities. All of them were set in beach environments, with a very Californian soundtrack. The tricky thing was to carry out all the activities successfully, without failures, getting the most points.

A super fun game, but also frustrating and that made many children want to throw the joystick on the wall.

23. Moonwalker

More than classic game on Mega Drive. King of Pop fans weren't disappointed in Moonwalker. It was a platformer-style game, with only four levels, but all of them quite challenging. It was necessary to escape labyrinths, kill gangsters, transform into a robot and all that weirdness that MJ loved.

But best of all was the soundtrack. All of Michael Jackson's most famous songs were in the game, and so was the singer's characteristic squeal. Unmissable!

22. Pulseman

Pulseman is almost a generic version of Megaman. It never made it to our country, having only been released in Japan for quite some time. It deserves mention here, however, as it not only knew how to "imitate" some X mechanics, but also stood out on its own merits.

The gameplay was very good, accompanied by a soundtrack that stood out and contributed to the literally electric mood of the title. Unlike Megaman, Pulseman is a fast-paced game with constant and frantic action. The quality was undeniable, mainly because it was made by Game Freak, responsible for virtually all Pokémon titles.

21. Jungle Strike

Jungle Strike continued Desert Strike and managed to improve an already good game. The franchise has very satisfyingly brought the "non-2D platform" experience. In other words, with some freedom, controlling a helicopter, we had a strategy game, with shoot n' up elements and the possibility of exploring scenarios.

Each stage forces players to perform very specific missions, such as saving hostages, destroying enemy bases and vehicles. The helicopter has weapons, whose ammunition runs out. Therefore, it is also necessary to keep an eye on collecting more ammo whenever possible.

Game over comes in two ways: either taking enough damage or using up all the fuel. The part of having to find fuel or at least not spend all yours was pretty complicated. But that was a charm of Jungle Strike, which made the game more realistic.

20. Phantasy Star IV

Phantasy Star IV is what we would call a classic RPG. We highlight the turn-based battle system, with a heavy focus on exploring maps and interacting with NPCs, being able to control multiple characters. And for all the Mega Drive's limitation, the graphics and sound were pretty satisfying.

Speaking specifically of the characters, we could control a group with a maximum of five. But in total, there were eleven avatars available. At certain times, you had to play with one or the other specifically, but in general, you could choose to change the group whenever you wanted.

The game was long, as a respectable RPG should be, which required a lot of dedication and patience from the players. Especially if they wanted to read the dialogues and understand what was going on in the story.

19. Shining Force 2

Tactical RPG, Shining Force 2 was, along with Phantasy Star IV, the great name of the genre on the Mega Drive. Controlling Bowie, leader of the army that gives the game its name, you must explore villages, talk to characters, collect treasures, define battle equipment and even who will participate in battles.

As you progressed through the game, you discovered new allies, who could join your army. Each soldier belonged to a class, with its advantages and disadvantages. Assembling the groups that would battle was indeed a tactical action, which required care and attention.

Assessing the battle terrain, the size of the enemy's army and your own were just some of the aspects players needed to be aware of. Like all good RPGs, Shining Force 2 was complex, which, in the genre, is one of the highest praises you can get.

18. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle: The Hyperstone Heist

In the 90's the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were very successful in everything. In games it was no different. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle: The Hyperstone Heist was a Sega adaptation of an arcade version. Regarding Nintendo, it was a good short of what we could expect. There was no way to throw enemies on the screen, for example.

Even so, all the funny mood of the Turtles stories is there. In the beat n' up style it's one of the most fun, mainly because we could choose our favorite mutant turtle. Not to mention that Donatello, Rafale, Leonardo and Michelangelo had different fighting styles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle: The Hyperstone Heist was a must for anyone who was a fan of the franchise.

17. X-Men 2: The Clone Wars

You put the cartridge in the Mega Drive, started the game and WOW: it was already starting to fight, controlling a random mutant. No splash screen, no logo, no presentation. Something that was impressive, since it was not at all common by the standards of the time.

Soon after this screen, the player starts to understand well what X-Men 2: The Clone Wars is. Overall, it was a really fun game. It allowed controlling up to seven different mutants, who faced different enemies known from the comics, in stages whose scenarios were interactive.

Each controllable mutant had unique advantages and disadvantages, which were taken into account in battles. Something that made the game very dynamic and almost forced players to try to beat the game with all mutants.

16. World of Illusion

Among the many Disney games on the Mega Drive, World of Illusion is the one that stood out the most. Graphically it was very beautiful, imitating the designed look of the company's characters. The soundtrack immersed players in the magical world of Mickey Mouse and company. And of course: controlling Mickey himself was too much.

Besides him, we could control Donald Duck. If we played in co-op mode, each player chose one. We highlighted that each one had a different gameplay, although they both jumped, jumped and attacked. Mickey, however, can get into very small spaces, while Donald goes through other paths and realms.

Speaking of realms, World of Illusion has a Kingdom Hearts vibe. You could find other famous Disney characters and their respective worlds. For the time, it was wonderful!

15. Castlevania: Bloodlines

Castlevania: Bloodlines is the only game in the franchise on the Mega Drive. And it was really good! The quality of the title on the console showed well the potential of Sega's video game in terms of graphics. It was well designed, with somewhat impressive visual effects and gameplay that wasn't slowed down.

As was usual in Sega games, Castlevania: Bloodlines didn't mind showing blood, bones and all that more explicit part. You could choose between two characters at the beginning of the game, which continued in platform-style stages. You had to face a sub-boss and a boss per level.

14. Ristar

Ristar brings a character that for a long time fought with Sonic for the post of mascot of Sega. The game's protagonist is a human-looking star whose arms are extendable and flexible. In fact, it is using them that the star moves around the scenario, in a typically side scrolling game.

The game was divided into six worlds. Within each planet there were several phases, called acts. At the end of the last act, a Boss appeared. As you progressed through the stages, the more difficult the game became. Especially if the players hadn't mastered the character's movement scheme well.

A curious, beautiful game, but only playing to understand the magic.

13. Comix Zone

Some consider this the best game on the Mega Drive. Judging by the concept, yes, it is. All gameplay takes place inside a HQ. The graphics are very well done for the time. The game style mixes side scrolling adventure, fighting and beat n' up. All of this could not be found together in another console title.

Comix Zone featured a comic book creator who ended up getting stuck in his own creation after a storm. The villain, Mortus, in turn, escaped. The player's mission was to destroy enemies in various stages in order to return to the real world and stop Mortus from becoming a reality.

Crazy, conceptual and weird, but one of the most fun games on the Mega Drive.

12. RoboCop vs Terminator

Two of the biggest cyborgs in history facing each other is the idea of ​​RoboCop vs Terminator. The game is based on a comic book series created by Frank Miller. From there, the player controls RoboCop, in a platform-style game, without many frills and quite objective: it is to kill as many Terminators as possible in each level.

11. FIFA 96

In the 1995/1996 season, the FIFA franchise already demonstrated its full potential in terms of licenses. The German league and the French league were the main ones in Europe. In the Americas, the highlight was our country's Championship.

For those who didn't have access to Super Star Soccer Deluxe, this was a pretty good replacement. There were very good customization options in general, something that set this title apart from the others. At least as far as the camera is concerned, it was not necessary to stay at just one viewing angle.

The game, however, was slow when we hit the pitch. With the exception of that fact, FIFA 96 was quite realistic and allowed Mega Drive players to experience great moments in the sport. Especially if you think that the commentary and narration were pretty close to what you would expect from a real broadcast.

10. Samurai Shodown

In the 90s there were many good fighting games for the Mega Drive. Samurai Shodown is one of them, and that was evident when we compared it to the more limited version of Street Fighter for the console.

One of the most fun aspects of Shodown was the fact that the game was set in the medieval Japanese world. The sets, therefore, had several references to the Japanese culture of that period. The animations of the public that watched the fights were very lively and contributed to the emotion of the duels.

Samurai Shodown still received positive reviews for being a fast paced fighting game. Unlike games like Mortal Kombat, it focused on allowing fighters to do a lot of damage in single hits. Combos were present, but not that important.

9. Altered Beast

For those who liked Greek mythology, this was one of the best on the Mega Drive. You took command of a Greek warrior, who needed to rescue Athena, daughter of Zeus, from the possession of a demon. Detail that this warrior was dead, having been resurrected by the Father of the Gods.

The strength of Altered Beast is that in each stage the Greek centurion absorbed so-called power-ups from enemies. So he turned into a kind of beast, as the name of the game suggests. He was wolf, dragon, bear, tiger and golden wolf.

The problem is that it was not always possible to get the power-ups. This made it almost impossible to pass the level. So if you were one of those who got frustrated easily playing in childhood, you must have certainly missed this title.

8. Disney's Aladdin

Aladdin received a Mega Drive version that was a little different from the one that came out for Nintendo. In Mega, Aladdin could use a sword, for example, something that the competitor didn't have. So in addition to jumping on enemies and throwing apples at them, you could just hit them with your weapon.

The game followed the narrative of the movie, putting the player in very different stages from each other. In one you could fly on the magic carpet, while in others you had to jump from building to building. You could find the Genie and participate in bonus stages in a separate world.

It was a very popular game among children in the 90's because of the theme.

7. Earthworm Jim

Either you understood Earthworm Jim or you pretended you did and kept playing anyway. For the Mega Drive and other consoles of the genre, it was an indispensable title. The characters were crazy, in very well rendered animations and with really funny comic strips.

It's already starting that Jim is an intergalactic earthworm, who was unintentionally the target of a scientific experiment. After gaining special powers, he went on a mission to save a princess, while he had to defeat several enemies as crazy as he was.

Even with its senseless humor, it was quite successful among children who had a Mega Drive. No wonder it was one of the few games at the time to receive top marks in some specialized magazines of the genre.

6. Rocket Knight Adventures

The childhood of those who had video games in the 80s/90s was filled with cute characters, bears, marsupials and the like. On the Mega Drive, in addition to Sonic, there was Sparkster, protagonist of Rocket Knight Adventures. He was a medieval knight whose enemies were pigs and robots.

At first, nothing very interesting. However Rocket Knight Adventures was gaining popularity for the simple gameplay that was accessible to children. But of course: as long as they played on the Children difficulty level.

Rocket Knight Adventures was known for having multiple difficulty levels. The easiest was Children, but there was Crazy Hard, where you practically beat the game. After all, Sparkster only had one life and there was no famous continue. So it wasn't even such a game for kids.

5. Streets of Rage 2

16-bit consoles were full of fighting games. The quality was always high, with a strong dedication to graphics, sound effects and gameplay. If Nintendo turned Street Fighter into a success, Sega gave Mega Drive Streets of Rage, one of the best brawling games on the console.

Both the first and second Streets of Rage were very worthwhile. The 2, in any case, was confirmation of the success established by its predecessor. The gameplay featured a super move, more than one aerial kick option, and more than one special move.

The phases were expanded, as you started in one part of the scenario and ended in another. Enemies had color and clothing variations, each variation having been given different names, which made them almost new characters within one.

Anyway: Streets of Rage 2 was really a more violent, heavier and more adult game. Even the darker color palettes gave that impression. Something that for those who were teenagers or adults, had more appeal.

4. Street Fighter II

Street Fighter II received on the Mega Drive a different version from that of Nintendo. Let's face it, it wasn't as good as the competitor's, because it didn't look like the arcade version of SF. Anyway, even with some technical problems, anyone who couldn't have an NES sure had a lot of fun with Ryu and Ken.

Speaking of characters, there was the addition of four more fighters: Vega, M. Bison, Sagat and Balrog. They were considerably more powerful than the other fighters. Some modifications were made to the other eight fighters, to make their styles more unique.

3.Mortal Kombat

The first Mortal Kombat was one of the most satisfying experiences in fighting game history. Bloody, brutal and violent, it was a source of contention between mothers and children. But those who could play, had a very happy childhood. Especially if you owned a Sega console.

That's because Sega released the "uncut" version of MK. All Fatalities, moves and specials were true to the arcade, that is: blood, blood and more blood. The Fatalities revolution was a lot more fun with all of MK's over-the-top visual effects.

Regarding the characters, we were introduced to the classics Liu Kang, Raiden, Shang Tsung and the ninjas Sub-Zero and Scorpion. In total there were 10 characters, 7 of which were playable. They didn't differ in terms of speed and size, like in other fighting games.

Overall, however, it was without a doubt the best game of its kind for the Mega Drive.

2. Golden Ax

If it weren't for Sonic, this would definitely be number one. Golden Ax was an absolutely brilliant RPG-style game. It was developed for arcades and can still be found in some arcades around the world.

The game is heavily influenced by the movie "Conan the Barbarian", which was released in 1982. That's why the plot is nothing more than that classic fight-based rescue. The objective of the game is to reach Death Adder's castle and save the king and queen.

When starting the game in the single player version, you have the option to choose between three warriors to represent you,

1. Sonic The Hedgehog 2

It would be impossible for Sonic not to be the first game on this list. Whoever was born in the late 1980s was completely marked by the most beloved hedgehog ever. It's no wonder that the game was recently re-mattered and the character's return to movement including the film industry. "Sonic the Movie" will be released in November 2022.

Now, you must be wondering why we chose the second game in the trilogy. The answer is simple: Tails. This was the introduction game of Sonic's best friend, the fox Miles "Tails" Prower.

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