System – the Sega Genesis, the first system I ever got, back in Christmas of 1993. Making the hardware itself 26 years old, yet it still works fairly well. It’s really hard to pick favorites when it comes to an entire system, but if I had to it would probably be this one, with the Dreamcast and the Wii just behind it. Why is it the best? 2 reasons: 1 – it’s my first system, 2 – it’s the system I have the most games for. So prepare yourself, this review will take a little while.

6-pak – up first is the only (for now) multi-cart I have for the system. That’s not entirely accurate but you’ll see that later on. It’s placed here because numbers come before letters in my organization system, and it is a cart only game, one of 12, there’s another 14 in box and complete games as well. The cart looks really good in the system I must say, and it contains the following games: Sonic 1, Columns, Super Hang-On, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, and Revenge of the Shinobi. We’ll be going over the games in the order they appear on the cart so first up, right where it should be, Sonic 1.

Sonic the Hedgehog – or Sonic 1 as it is commonly known, if I’m not mistaken it is not actually the first sonic game ever, I believe there was one for the master system, but it was much different than this one. Though it’s not as good as 2 or 3, Sonic 1 is still by all means a classic. The biggest flaw with the game is not having the spin dash, it’s a very annoying absence, especially when having played Sonic 2 so heavily. Aside from that it is a solid game all around. It’s also incredibly noticeable how much better the graphics and the speed of the game is after having spent 8 hours playing nothing but NES. Think about it for a minute. How much did graphics and speed jump from GameCube to Wii and then from Wii to Wii U? Not that much, not like this, not even close. In my half hour run I game covered level 3 act 1 (I thought there were continues) then used the cheat code (almost impossible not to use in this game because it’s so easy) and jumped to the labyrinth level and got stuck in act 3 of it. The level lay out in the cheat code is different than the natural game progression. What a game, though personally I would suggest getting the 6-pak instead of the game by itself, because there are other good ones on here.

Columns – on the 6-Pak selection screen if you press the right button it moves all the games to the right and highlights the game to the left, the first one in this fashion is Columns, one of my favorite if not favorite Genesis games. A fairly basic puzzle game all in all, columns of three gems drop from the top and you match up 3 or more in a row column or diagonal to get points and clear levels. I can play this game almost forever. Case in point, I played only one game for my half hour of testing, didn’t lose in that time, still had 83% of the screen Open. I made it to level 46, collected 2308 jewels, and scored 854,173 points. Furthermore I haven’t played this game in several years. As I said it is one of my favorites, despite having a hard copy I still downloaded it for the Wii when I got the system many years later. Because the gems are different shape I don’t have a problem with the colors. There is a Columns 2 and 3 out there, but I’ve never seen or played them, but you can bet if I do see it, I’ll snatch it up, no questions asked, especially if the box is with it (I like the unusual cover art). From what I understand I think Columns 3 is kind of like a role playing puzzle game, but I don’t know any more than that. Just putting Sonic 1 and Columns on the multi-kart already makes its it one of the best carts out there for the system. But there still four more to get through, so onward.

Streets of Rage – another really good game, though as a kid I perfected the second and third sequels, I don’t have them now. If I remember right I had borrowed them from my uncle back then, he was also a gamer and also had a Genesis. This is a classic beat’em up and what all other beat’em ups should be compared to, and another game that makes six pack so good. In the half hour of play I made it all the way to level 5 with some continues left, though I’m not sure how many.

Golden Ax – another very fun beat’em up, though perhaps a titch too easy, I lost at what I believe was the final boss, before my half hour of play was up. Normally I play as the girl when given the option (like choosing Blaze in the previous game), but for this one I opted for the dwarf. I saw Golden Ax 2, complete at my game store one day, and told myself I’d pick it up the next time, but someone else got it first. Oh well. This is an early game for the system and the graphics are significantly lower than what the system is capable of, but the background score and interesting fantasy elements make up for it, in my opinion at least.

Revenge of the Shinobi – I never liked this game a whole lot when I was younger, even the most recent time I played it, maybe 2 years ago, I wasn’t digging it, but this time around, actually it was pretty good, so maybe I’ll play it more thoroughly at some point. For the review I set the game on easy with 90 throwing stars to start, and I made it to the boss at the end of level 2 without continuing. Not bad… for me at least.

Super Hang-On – maybe it’s because I remember this game in a different light or perhaps it’s because I’ve already put 8 hours into the game, but this half hour of play seems a lot easier than the last time I played it. I beat the first level, Africa after 2 tries, went half way through Asia and a third of the way through Europe (the hardest course) before losing this time around. Also I liked it more.

Arcade classics – I thought I had two multi-carts in my collection, but I forgot about this one, a relatively recent acquisition. These are very old games in this cart, not games for the system in their own right like the other two multi-carts, but again, a half hour of play for each, regardless of how basic. The 3 games in question are: Centipede, Ultrapong and Missle Command; each in both Sega and classic versions.

Centipede – basically a space shooter, when a centipede segment is killed it makes a little obstacle that changes the path of the rest of the segments, plus there are spiders that appear here and there. I don’t know if people really need a description but I do, since I always get it confused with snake the old cell phone game (maybe the original “app”). My high score in the regular version was 10496. I couldn’t play the Sega version because of the colors. Green on a black field is easy to see, green on a green field, not so much.

Ultrapong – what can I say, it’s pong, more or less the first video game ever. There’s a lot of options you can set up for this game which I haven’t tried all of yet. I enjoyed the Hocky version a little better, as your goal is easier to guard, of course getting a goal on your opponent is just as difficult. The only difference between classic and Sega versions are the sound effects.

Missile Command – a fun game but a little tedious, the cross hairs you use to blow up missiles moves very slow. It makes your hands hurt, the graphics are a little more interesting in the Sega version, but not greatly.

The Adventures of Mighty Max – filed under M for Mighty Max. I was a big fan of the toy line when I was a kid, I still have two of the sets (the skull and the snake), some of the pieces are missing but what do you expect when they are so small. I thought the Polly Pocket toys were pretty neat too (a whole play set that fits in your pocket – awesome) but as a boy I couldn’t play with them because it would be socially unacceptable. I also liked the short lived mighty max cartoon, I remember one really good episode about a guy that lived in a massive bomb shelter. Anyways the game is almost unplayable. I have no idea what to do. There are three characters to choose from, I played as the girl of course, and there are two levels. In a half hour it seems as though I’ve Made no progress whatsoever. Perhaps if I read the instructions or watch some game play footage I could figure it out, but in all hibiscus I’m not that interested. This is a 2 out of 5 game.

Mortal Kombat II – I love me some fighting games, Soul Caliber is my all-time favorite game. As a kid I used to love Mortal Kombat when I played them over at a friend’s house without my mom knowing. Now… why are these games so hard? I don’t remember them being hard, but I think that’s largely because I was always playing them with 2 players, and my skill was roughly the same as my opponents. Playing against the computer is almost impossible. Even with the game set on Very Easy with 15 credits I still only made it to level 4, going through all the characters once, and some two or three times. I think this is the kind of game where you just have to keep playing over and over again and your fingers will learn how to do it. But you need to play a lot more than a half hour. Despite all this I still give the game 4 out of 5. It’s historically relevant, great graphics for the era (better than the modern versions of the game in my opinion), and for the fact that I’d be interested in grinding away at the game to get better at it. Sometime soon I think. These games are worth it.

Prince of Persia – this is a game I like an awful lot, it’s beautifully animated, and I am a bit of an Arabiophile. I consider it the first game I ever got as a “collector” (though there is an exception) and also the first Genesis game I got in probably 18 years. My biggest problem with the game is the second level, I’ve made it all the way to level 8 (the one before the last), in the past, in this half hour play, I got up to level 4 spending at least half the time in the second level. The final password I achieved in this round is IZZJGP play from there if you wish.

Royal Rumble – wrestling games in the past have been a mixed bag, some are good some are bad, this one is actually pretty good: decent graphics and a roster of 12 characters, pretty big for the day. It shares the same name as my least favorite game in my collection, and that game (on Dreamcast) was notable for being able to support 7 characters on screen at once, this one seems to allow 8. It even has an in game ref, animated announcers, and stairs into the ring. It’s actually quite detailed when you look into it. A very good wrestling game for the time, maybe my second favorite wrestling game in my collection (the first is easily Raw on the Dreamcast).

Taz escape from Mars – this is one of the other games I got when I picked up Prince of Persia. The first time I played this game I was able to beat the first boss, but this time I kept getting stuck in the same place a few minutes after playing and had to reset. Maybe it would be worth seeing a walkthrough, but I’m not that interested. I picked it up largely because of an old VHS Tape I had. It was recorded when Snick was first being introduced on Nickelodeon, they had some kind of matching game you played over a primitive video phone and if you were able to match two show logos from a defaced board you would win a TV, a VCR, a Sega Genesis 16-Bit Video Game System, a Whole Bunch of Game Cartridges, and a 100$ from Kraft Handy Snacks (that is exactly how the announcer called it). If you lost you got the Genesis & the Tazmania Game Cartridge. Taz was also the stand out cart in the display of the “whole bunch of game cartridges” next time I watch that video I’ll have to see if I identify the rest (I think DeCap Attack was one of them). Anyways, the game store did not have Tazmania, but it did have Escape from Mars, so I picked it up because of that.

Zoop – I can’t give this game the half hour play through, it’s not a bad game in theory, but for me, it’s unplayable. You need to be able to see color in this game which I’m not very good at. If it was real basic colors (red, yellow, green, blue, black, white) I may have been alright, but there’s: blue, teal, purple, (which all look like blue to me) green, red and orange (all look like red to me) the colors are in different shapes, but you shooter (which has to match the color) is only identified by color. You can see where it would be a problem. Still worth picking up as it is the last game alphabetically in just about every system it was released for, and it was released for a lot.

Ceaser’s Palace – In the half hour of playing I did better than I usually do at the casino, you start out with 2000$ and at the end of my play I had 2095. I already reviewed this game pretty thoroughly so I won’t go into it here. Why is it here, after Zoop? Well the first eight games are all “Red box” games (the best artwork for the system in my opinion) this game though is a black box game, as are the next three.

Cool Spot – technically this is my wife’s game, my wife’s only game for the system. I got it for her for X-Mas of ‘14. She didn’t play it much though, though she had told me many times before hand that it was one of her favorites. It is not one of my favorites, well animated with spot on controls, so no fault there, my problem is the difficulty. I’ve only played it a few times and I can never make it past level 2, but that’s okay. For X-mas of ‘15 my wife ended up getting me the same game, but this time for the SNES. No fault on her though, 2015 was a hectic year for both of us, and since she only played the game maybe once after I got it for her it wasn’t at the top of her mind. I’ll cover the SNES version in Volume 3 of the cartridge review. I plan on doing a review of both games, a side by side comparison, probably sooner rather than later, but we’ll see when, there’s a few others I want to do as well before we get there.

Menacer 6-in-1 Game Pak – Unfortunately I can’t play this game. The Menacer was a Sega light gun, a little more sophisticated then the Nintendo Zapper or the Sega Justifier, this one is cordless and has a scope and shoulder butt that can be attached if desired. I still have my Menacer however I am missing the receiver that you plug into the Genesis and place on top of the TV, similar to the Wii mote setup. I remember playing this game a lot when I got it, my dad and aunt even gave it a try. If you did bad, a voice would say :Good Shooting…Not!” (This was the early 90’s of course). Also Toejam and Earl make an appearance. Too bad I can’t play it for the review.

Quackshot – love love love this game. I was recommended to me back in 93-94, and I rented it from block buster twice before finally getting a loose copy at Funcoland. It’s a great platformer with non-linier RPG aspects to it in which you have to meet certain people in certain levels in order to get keys or items to progress through other levels and so on. The game stars Donald Duck, his main weapon is a plunger gun, and the game is beautifully animated. In the half hour play I unlocked the later four stages (there’s a total of 8 in the game) and made it to the second boss. Despite how much I love this game, it is still not even the best Disney game on the system. That will be up next, when we switch to the boxed games.

Aladdin – there is so much I could say about this game. Most of which I already have in one of my first blog posts, if you remember back then, if not you can review it here at your leisure. Aside from 6-Pak (which doesn’t count because of its multi-cart nature) this is my favorite game on the system, it’s also my first video game, and it was almost impossible to stop playing after the half hour test was up. I made it up to the escape (the hardest level in the game) without dyeing. I made it through the escape in four maybe five attempts (that’s probably a new record for me), and I made it to the genie’s lamp before the half hour ran out.

Eternal Champions – an old fighting game with a killer in-game story. It would have been great to see the series progress through other systems, maybe they’ll revive it someday. I’d like to see an Eternal “Tournament” with 64 characters from different times & places in history (maybe something to think about for a later blog post). the question of why this game did not see a longer history is easy to answer: because it’s so difficult. And that’s with the famous 6-button controller (I think this is one of the first games to utilize the newer design), with the original 3-button controls its borderline unplayable. Even in battle mode with the difficulty at its lowest setting I still couldn’t beat the first opponent. In championship mode there’s no way to get out (even if you lose) other than resetting the game. Maybe if I put some serious time into the game I’ll get the hang of the controllers and have it be somewhat playable, maybe I’ll do that in the distant future, maybe.

Jurassic Park – remember my review of Aladdin? This is nothing like it. Aladdin was a great game based on a great Disney movie, Jurassic park is a bad game based on a mediocre movie (yes I’m probably the only person in my generation that doesn’t care for Jurassic park, but what can you do). Graphically the game looks good but the controls are sluggish and counterintuitive, the levels (or level since I never made it past the first) are complex and very difficult to navigate, and the pit falls… if you fall to fast you will miss a solid platform, falling through it. And you’ll have to start from the beginning (I never made it to any checkpoints if there are any.  I found out you can play as the raptor in the game, making it a much different game, but still very (if not too) hard in that version as well. I don’t think I’ll be back to play this game any time soon. On the plus side, it does have very nice box art. But why and how do they mess up so bad when making this game?

Mickey Mania – interesting but not a great game. The first level is very interesting because it starts out in black and white and is slowly colorized, it’s right out of Steamboat Willie. I couldn’t make it past the second level which is the mad doctors. There is a code to access any level you like, my personal fav other than the first, is the moose hunt, but I didn’t do the code this time.

Mortal Kombat – there’s a lot to be said about this game of course. I was quite lucky to pick it up at the game store (in the box no less) the guy at the store told me they got it that morning. But it is one of those games you have to grab when you see it, there’s no other way. I will say it’s considerably easier than MK2 I was able to make it up to the third endurance match with 2 credits left by the end of the test. Apparently you are supposed to use the 6-Button controller, which I did though it didn’t seem to improve much. Very enjoyable game, but also quite hard, I was playing on very easy after all.

NBA Jam – I borrowed this game from a friend a longtime ago. I gave him tiny toon adventure, since then we’ve lost touch, I’ll pick up tiny toons if I see it. I played 2 games in the test (which take about 8 minutes of game play and maybe 2 minutes total of intermissions between quarters.) this is a great game, easily my favorite basketball game and probably favorite sports game. It has very over the top game mechanics, but slam dunks and Easter eggs galore. I played one game with Al Gore and one with Air Dog (I think he’s based on Michael J Fox from Teen Wolf but I could be wrong) and in the second game I got a fire ball and shattered the back board. Classic.

Sonic & Knuckles – played as sonic, took a while to make work, played sonic 2 w/ knuckles. Most people know the interesting nature of this game, the cart doesn’t look like anything else on the system, it comes in a cardboard box which is a little annoying but what can you do. We all know why it looks so weird of course, you can snap Sonic 2 or Sonic 3 on the top and play as knuckles in those games (the red flying and wall climbing friend of sonic first introduced in Sonic 3 but he’s only playable in the multi-player racing mini game.) also if you snap most other carts into the top, and use a password system you can play a level of “blue spheres” (the bonus levels in Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles). The rumor when I was in middle school was that if you snapped in some fighting game (let’s say Mortal Kombat) the “no way” screen would not appear and instead it would have sonic and company fighting with the characters from that game. I haven’t been able to confirm this roomer or not and I probably won’t find out because I don’t think I’ll be playing this game again. Why not? The game is okay (well get to that in a minute) and Sonic 2 with Knuckles is outstanding, however after I used this game the Genesis was acting goofy for the remainder of the night. Don’t know if the system is on its last legs, or I’ve been playing it too much recently or if it was in fact the cart, but just to be on the safe side, I’m going to permanently shelf the cart. I can play it just as easily (actually much more easily) on the Sonic Mega Collection for the Game Cube (one of my favorites for that system, and the subject of a soon to come review I think). The sonic Mega Collection is the main reason I have not yet picked up Sonic 3 or Sonic Spinball despite having seen them at the game store often. As for the game itself, it’s not quite as good as the original trilogy of sonic games. As for the game itself, the levels are a little too elaborate in their paths and the difficulty is way up there. I think as a kid I only made it up to level 3, or maybe just level 2. Same goes for more recent years playing it on the GameCube. In this test I played as sonic for a little bit, since I don’t think I ever actually did this before, but why would you want to play as sonic when you have the Knuckles option anyways? The knuckles run was more interesting, but I didn’t get any further then I had with sonic. I also snapped on Sonic 2, and made it to level 3 with Knuckles, I was actually surprised the feature worked at all.

Virtua Racer – I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I Believe this was the last game in bought for the system in its hay day. And it is not a very good game. They were attempting to go into the next generation of graphics at the time with the polygons, but this actually makes the game seem more dated. You can’t fault Sega for the attempt though. There are only 3 levels in the game and getting a hang of the turning takes a while to master. One saving grace on this game though is the free race option where you can just drive the track without opponents just trying beat you best time. A lot of racing games don’t have this feature and it’s very frustrating, like in Hydro Thunder or Rippin’ Riders on the Dreamcast. I should also not that the cart is unusual, much bigger than the standard fair, and from what I’ve heard the game doesn’t work on the retro-revival systems. It is advanced for the system, I will give the game that much. And aside from super hang-on this is the only racing game I have for the system.

Aquatic Games: Starring James Pond – this is the only EA game in my Genesis collection, and I hate EA games for one reason, the goofy design of the cartridge. I won’t get any EA game at this point unless it’s in a box, but since there is only one I can think of that I want to get (road rash) it’s not a big problem. Anyways this game is one of my least favorites on the consul. It’s a series of mini-games. It’s cute, and the games would be okay if you could just play for the high score, but unfortunately there is a minimal score or time to achieve, which makes you feel like a looser because they are usually next to impossible to reach. The animation is cute and kind of goofy which is nice, but the point system is annoying, and the mini-games get old fast. Oh well.

Castle of Illusions – not a launch title, but a very early game for the system it also had a release on the master system as well, and it was used back in the day to promote the graphics of the Genesis. The game took a while to get to work, but again I don’t know if that was the cart, the system, or still suffering from the effects of sonic and knuckles. It kept resetting at the end of the first check point in the first level. It did this three times, but then it seemed to work fine. I made it to the boss of the second level (who I believe I’ve never beaten) but I came close, if I had a little more time I might have gotten past him, he is hard though. Beautifully animated, remember this is one of the first Genesis games. Fun, but surprisingly hard.

Ghostbusters – evidently one of the best Ghostbusters games out there and also fairly rare. It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s still playable, still decent, it has a great sound track and a certain overall feel to the game that pushes the game in the “better half” of my collection. The nerd did a good review of the game explaining that it is far better then the rest of the Ghostbusters games out there.

Sonic 2 – My favorite of the original sonic trilogy. This is the first game to introduce the spin dash (which you don’t realize how useful it is until you play sonic 1 and the screen uselessly bounces up and down). I borrowed the game from my uncle a long time ago and for some reason it’s still in my collection, and one of my favorites for the system. I made it to level 4 in the half hour test, Hill Top Zone, my favorite level in the game. I’ve only ever made it to level six in the past. I’d been playing a lot of NES Remix (review coming soon) on the Wii U recently, and while playing I couldn’t help but think what would sonic be like in the original Mario game? And what would Mario or Peach be like in sonic? Not just sprites that look like those characters but those characters with their inherent abilities. I’d like to see that in the next Mario V. Sonic game (Sonic 1, 2 & 3 and Mario 1, 2 & 3; each one playable with Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mario, Luigi & Peach, and you can download other characters like Donkey Kong and Link at your leisure). But that’s probably wishful thinking.

Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition – a relatively new game in my collection I only played it for the customary 15 minute test beforehand. unlike all the other games I’ve reviewed (all in this volume) the lowest difficulty setting is actually quite easy, as in I can beat it with little trouble. I completed the game on 1 star (it goes up to 10 I think) with… As should be no surprise if you’ve been following along… Chun-Li. Then I got half way through the game again with E. Honda on 2 stars. Because you can actually ease your way into the game this makes it, at least for now, the best fighting game on the system. What it lacks in violence and graphics, it makes up for in playability.

X-Men – why is it at the very end? Most Genesis games come in red or black boxes, this is one of the few that is in a different color, kind of a yellow-orange I think (I’m color blind). I don’t know how many games are in different colors boxes, but I intend to find out when I do my video game art review, coming in a little while I think. Anyways I did a lengthy review in this game a while ago so please check that out if you’re interested. This time around I didn’t do so well, couldn’t make it past level 2. Not one of my fav’s, but it’s okay. Onto volume 3.