Earthworm Jim, 1994
Paper texture from bittbox.
NBA Jam, 1994
I wasn’t ever much for sports games, but NBA Jam was serious fun. I can’t remember how much time I sank into this game, but it was an absurd amount, both on the Genesis and the Game Gear. I usually played as the Orlando Magic or the Chicago Bulls, mostly because that’s who my friend who knew sports better than I did played as.
One fun bit from Wikipedia: Mark Turmell, creator of NBA Jam, affirmed a long held suspicion that the game had a bias against the Chicago Bulls. According to Turmell, a Detroit Pistons fan, the game had special code that caused the Bulls to miss last-second shots in close games against the Pistons.
Revolution X, 1995.
You know, for a long time we only had one Aerosmith-themed game. And then we went and changed that for some reason.
A couple of notes:
Lost Vikings, 1992/1993.
Back before Warcraft had worlds to it, Blizzard (né Silicon and Synapse) made some pretty memorable console games. Lost Vikings was one of those. Given three vikings, the player had to get to the exit of each level and eventually the end of the game, using each of the vikings’ unique skills. Of course, all three needed to make it to the exits.
Dynamite Headdy, 1994.
From time to time, I’m going to do vertical lines of games, instead of the rival systems side-by-sides. So here I have two games developed just for the Game Gear and the Genesis.
Dynamite Headdy is one of those games that few have played, and that’s a shame. Developed by Treasure (TREASURE!), Dynamite Headdy plays with the same sense of chaos and glee as you’d expect. Headdy is presented in sort of a meta-game: the game starts with the curtain lifting, and the walls behind the scenery are visible in many places. Given that the denizens of this world are puppets, including Headdy, this makes sense.
Given that, its available on the Virtual Console, so check it out.
Virtua Fighter, in cartridge form.
So I’m adding the 32X to my pool of resources. While it doesn’t fit into the 8 or 16-bit generation, it did require a Sega Genesis to use, and that counts for something.
First up, Virtua Fighter Deluxe, 32X, 1995.
This game looks a lot better when played on a proper TV. Its movement is fluid, the controls tight, and is in true 3D. It’s even regarded as better than the Saturn version, which was rushed and suffered from flickery graphics.
Virtua Fighter 2, Genesis, 1996.
Due to the obvious limitations of the Genesis, Virtua Fighter 2 was remade as a 2D fighter. But check out those graphics. This game uses the system to its fullest, and it has the feel of a solid SNK fighter.
Virtua Fighter Animation, Game Gear, 1996.
Again, due to the limitations of the Game Gear, Virtua Fighter Animation is in 2D. It’s about as fluid as any Game Gear game is going to be. There’s even scaling in the form of “Realtime” mode, which switches between larger and smaller sprites. This version of the game seems to have some parallel to the Virtua Fighter anime.
Rock and Roll Racing, 1993 and 1996ish.
I fell in love with this game over at my friend Adam’s house, playing it on his Super NES well into the night. I was never good at racing games, and I almost always came in second when I played with my friends, not so much because I felt it was fair, but because they were always more practiced than me.
Rock and Roll Racing is one of those games that’s more than the sum of its parts. The racing is solid, the design is well done, and the licensed metal music is nice, but there’s something more to it. It’s a game that’s fun from the moment you turn it on.
This is another Blizzard before it was Blizzard game. The SNES game features the Silicon and Synapse splash screen, but the Genesis port, released some time after the Super Nintendo version, features the Blizzard logo. I’d put the release around 1996, but I can’t find an actual date in my research. I remember it being close to the end of the Genesis’s life.
Rise of the Robots, 1994
I can’t even begin to tell you how big of a deal Rise of the Robots was before it came out. Graphically, it didn’t look like other games at the time. Everything was shiny and looked futuristic, and followed the same sort of aesthetic that CG did. It simply looked mind-blowing. If I remember right, EGM did a huge splashy cover and a corresponding cover story. It was a Big Deal.
The game, however, was a big let down. It just didn’t play well, players were restricted to one fighter (the blue guy, Cyborg), and while the graphics were visually stunning, the animations left much to be desired. The game flopped, and rightfully so. And it remains one of biggest high-profile flops of the generation.
I almost bought a copy of this game for Game Gear until I found out it moves at about four frames a second. Yikes.
T2: The Arcade Game, 1993
Ah, arcade conversions. What better way to show off the limitations of your home system than to port a game over from a far more powerful system? Of course, near-perfection arcade ports were something of the holy grail in the 8- and 16-bit eras. The quest for the near-perfect port is the whole reason the Neo-Geo existed; why port the game when you can make the home hardware almost exactly the same as the arcade hardware?
So, T2: The Arcade Game for SNES and Sega Genesis. Like the Revolution X ports, the SNES is using its scaling abilities to full effect, where as the Genesis has sprites to work with. Note the differences in the color palettes, too.
On an interesting side note, the Genesis port has built-in support for the Menacer light gun and the Super Nintendo version has support for the Super Scope. Which is kind of cool. Taking on killer robots with game bazookas.