Ten Underrated Sega Games

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When the NES had run a decent course –though it was still selling plenty of units– rival companies were already well into the processes of making their own home consoles. One such rival, who would emerge as a clear run for Nintendo’s money, was Sega. Right around the same time the NES had really taken a foothold on the home gaming market, the Sega Master System was being promoted, albeit not as fervently.

However, when Nintendo released their follow-up, the Super Nintendo, the Sega Genesis found its way into the stores and began really impressing hard-core NES fans with their stellar line-up of titles. Of course the biggest name at the time was Mortal Kombat and Sega’s decision to include a ‘Blood Code’ which Nintendo did not. The battle waged for a while, and Genesis really did drop some great games. Now SEGA and Nintendo are set to do battle again, with mini-consoles playing retro games set to release for Holiday shopping. So we’re reminded of these ten lesser known SEGA gems really weren’t in the top echelon, but by no means among the bottom.

10) Bio-Hazard Battle


On the outside (or, I suppose I should say, inside) this game looks just like any other Space-type shoot-em-up.But, after a little play, it's plain to see that there are a few really impressive differences. The game takes place on a future Earth-type planet that has been overrun by a deadly biological weapon. Your ship has a main weapon that you use to destroy enemies coming at you from the top down, but you can also harness plasma to charge up your far- more-powerful 'Wall' weapon. At the same time, Energy Seeds are continuously being dropped that not only adjust your 'gun', but also change the structure of your ship. There's an awful lot going on here; not just vapidly blasting enemies. Fun stuff.

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9) Crack Down

Crack Down cart

If you were a fan of Gauntlet --and frankly, who wasn't-- then Crack Down should have been a lot of fun. Sadly,it never achieved quite the same star power as Gauntlet, despite the fact that it plays nearly identically. In a top-down view, you (as either Ben or Andy) are charged with destroying rooms filled with enemy soldiers, armed with guns, rockets, and explosives. However, it's never that easy: you are timed. Oh yeah. And that kinda sucks, especially since you also have to plant specific bombs throughout each level. This definitely raised the excitement level, and it certainly shows why this can be a frustrating game.

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8) National Hockey Night

National Hockey Night Cart

As far as hockey games go, this one (sponsored by ESPN) is right on the money. Playing just like many of its ilk,you're offered exhibitions, seasons, and play-off modes and the ability to adjust some stats on the vast array of actual NHL players from the 90's. The roster was surprisingly impressive, and each team played quite similarly to their real-life counterparts. However, the frustration level rose exponentially when the game was on the line, and it was a tie 2-2 going into the last seconds of the 3rd... and the damn AI snuck one past you. Such was the inevitability of the way the screen was positioned. Still, an awesome hockey game.


7) The Adventures of Batman and Robin

adventuresofbatmanandrobin cart

As superhero games go --especially Batman games-- the play is often hit or miss. Well, it's always hit or miss,actually. But, in this case, not only is the play a vast improvement over previous Batman games, but it really takes advantage of the Sega Genesis engine making it very vibrant and exceptionally well-scored. Throughout, you can either take control of both The Dark Knight and his ward, or you can have a second player pop in and operate Robin. Both work the exact same way: use of Batarangs, bolas, and other weapons in long-range attacks, and typical up close punching and such. In other portions of the game you get to control the Batwing! It is really a wonderful Batman game and the first of many greats that followed.

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6) Insector X

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If you're gonna play a typical side-scrolling game, why not play one that features you riding a giant bug shooting your bizarre weaponry at other, evil, insects? It's simple, it's basic, but it's really pretty and the audio is really something. One of the coolest weapon features is the way you can readily upgrade to more, vastly mutated versions that do seem... well, kind of random, actually. But that doesn't even matter when you're looking like a gigantic bee!

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5) Gunship 2000

Gunship 2000 Cart

Do you enjoy the flight simulators? Do you like soaring through the skies shooting things down? How about doingit while in a helicopter? I'm tired of asking these questions, frankly. This game is really beautifully done with exceptionally rendered instrument panels and quite realistic environment shots. As with most Fighter-Machine style games, you have several missions to complete before moving on to additional stages. Eventually, you can control your own cadre of choppers, and hey, what's more fun that controlling cadres of things?

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4) Leander (The Legend of Galahad)

Leander cart

The basic idea behind this roll-playing game is to collect specific treasures in each level whereby you can openportals leading to subsequent levels. Leander (your name in the game) traverses pretty well-designed areas, all the while pulling a Mario and collecting coins, which you can use at shops that make ridiculously infrequent appearances. That's kinda the irritating point of the game, but what're you gonna do. It's a ton of fun and really kind of draws you into the story with the many dragons and... giant otters? Yep. And each level's finish features a huge boss, as well. I had a blast with this game. Oh, and this is the very first game from Traveler's Tales. Think LEGO. You'll get it.

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3) Arcus Odyssey

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I was a huge fan of roll playing games, in fact, those games were the crux of the ones I owned. Arcus Odyssey wasone of many, and in fact, one of the better ones. Sure, it's a hack-and-slash style, but it's an older hack-and-slash that really stands up, and the way it was played was a direct influence on many of today's games. As one of four possible character choices (wizard, archer, thief, and warrior... sound familiar) you meander through various levels defeating monstrous enemies and gathering treasure. Each chest can contain either gems or various bits of armor. Yeah, you've played similar games, but it's still quite underrated.

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2) Castlevania: Bloodlines

Castlevania Bloodlines cartFew games were as well known or influential as the original Castlevania series for the NES and SNES. In fact, they're still making them for various systems including the PlayStation and PSP. But that's not the point. The point is, the Sega Genesis had one Castlevania of its own. And it was really quite good. What makes it even better is the fact that for a General Audience game, it's pretty bloody. The artwork and design in the game is absolutely gorgeous, and even shows off some really amazing animation, including multi-jointed bosses and dizzying screen rotation. Though this was the one and only Castlevania game for the Genesis, and really not as well known as the Nintendo versions, it is a really cool game.

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1) Ranger X

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Like Macross, Gundam, and, thus, Transformers, the game Ranger X features exquisitely rendered Battletech-like exo-suitedsoldiers flying around shooting things. Much like many side-scrolling shooters, the more bad guys you destroy, the more tanks show up that offer you myriad and better weapons. You can acquire a flame thrower, a rocket launcher, and even homing bombs. But, the very coolest thing about it is the futuristic (yeah, like the rest of the game isn't?) kick-ass motorcycle type vehicle you can eventually get that skims along the ground eliminating those particularly pesky enemies. It is a fun game with great music and nicely rendered artwork. I definitely recommend it.

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