Sega Genesis Mini: Here's All The Games On The Classic Console So Far
By Matt Espineli on
Sega is looking to join the ongoing trend of miniature consoles with its own Genesis Mini (or Mega Drive Mini, for those in Europe and Japan). As its name implies, the nostalgic console will collect some of the biggest and best 16-bit era games. Its design is based on the Model 1 Genesis and is about 55 percent smaller than the original. In addition, the Genesis Mini includes two classic three-button controllers, a USB-to-Micro-B power cable, a power adaptor, and an HDMI cable.
What makes the Sega Genesis Mini so notable is the fact that all the games included are being ported by developer M2, a studio known for its fantastic first-party production quality emulation of classic games. Aside from maybe Digital Eclipse, there are few other studios you'd want handling a task such as this.
So far, only 20 games have been confirmed of the Genesis Mini's roster of 40 games. You can see what those games are below. Otherwise, check back often as we update this feature with the rest of the games as they get announced. It's worth noting that Japan's version of the console has a slightly different roster with several exclusive games only released in that country.
If you're looking to grab a Genesis Mini, a few retailers already have listings for the console. Classic consoles have a history of selling out fast. So if you want the Sega Genesis Mini, consider pre-ordering now--lest you want to be overcharged by a scalper on eBay.
If you're interested in playing Sega Genesis on a modern HDTV, you can always get yourself Analogue's Mega Sg. GameSpot's Managing Editor Peter Brown said in his Mega Sg review: "While roughly $200 is a lot to spend on a console to play Genesis games, right now, the Mega Sg is the easiest way to get them up and running on a modern TV without sacrificing audio or video quality--the support for Master System and Sega CD games is the icing on the cake."
Sonic the Hedgehog
No classic console version of the Sega Genesis would be complete without the debut of the company's iconic mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog. The first Sonic game was pivotal in establishing Sega as a force that could compete against the creative forces at Nintendo. Despite the '90s 'tude marketing that surrounded the game's launch, Sonic the Hedgehog is a joyous fast-paced platformer with lively cartoon visuals. If you haven't played the first Sonic, you certainly owe it to yourself to do so as soon as you boot up your future Genesis Mini.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog was certainly a solid game in its own right, but Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is where the fast-paced formula truly shines with some of the best multi-layered stage design in the series and the addition of the iconic spin dash. The sequel is a delight that only makes a great idea even greater. Now, where's the announcement of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles? Come on Sega and M2, we don't have all day!
Ecco the Dolphin
Ecco the Dolphin has certainly stood the test of time as one of the more oddly intriguing games on Sega Genesis. You control Ecco, a bottlenose dolphin on a time-traveling journey across Earth's oceans to fight off hostile aliens. The game's occasional moody and haunting atmosphere still sets it apart from most games of its time. While Ecco the Dolphin's objectives can be a bit obtuse, and its controls somewhat stiff, its premise alone should be enough to warrant a few attempts through its myriad challenges.
If you've mostly spent time playing Castlevania games on Nintendo consoles, Castlevania: Bloodlines might be foreign you. But you're in for a fantasic ride, as Castlevania: Bloodlines stands among the best of the classic series with astounding visuals and well-executed platforming. Set in 1917, you play as either Jonathan Morris or Eric Lucarde, who are vampire hunters both on a mission to stop Dracula's resurrection. You'll navigate environments packed with dangerous obstacles while facing a variety of undead threats and possessed machinery. Castlevania: Bloodlines is classic Castlevania for all intents and purposes, and it's one of the best of its kind.
Space Harrier II
Space Harrier II was one of the major launch games for Sega Genesis in the U.S. and Japan. As the console-exclusive sequel to the much-loved arcade rail-shooter, Space Harrier 2 puts you in control of a super-powered protagonist endlessly running and flying across checker-board landscapes while shooting swarms of evil robots and alien creatures.
Shining Force is a turn-based tactical RPG where you command a group of adventurers with varying skills and abilities to do battle against the evil forces of a tyrant known simply as Kane. There aren't many grid-based strategy games on the Genesis, so to have Shining Force is certainly a welcome addition to Sega's mini console.
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
Most people fondly remember Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine as a charming puzzle game based in the universe of the Sonic the Hedgehog '90s cartoons. But in reality, it's actually a westernized version of the classic Japanese puzzler, Puyo Puyo. If you've yet to try out this fantastic series, then Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is a perfect place to start on your future Sega Genesis Mini.
ToeJam & Earl
There's a lot of fondness for ToeJam & Earl. Something about its '90s-era hip hop and attitude exudes an infectious charm that's difficult to not be taken by, even today. The game itself centers on its titular protagonists--alien rappers who have crash-landed on Earth and must collect pieces of their wrecked spacecraft to escape. This a great one to play cooperatively with a friend, and with the Sega Genesis Mini's two included controllers, that's a reality you can easily experience moments after taking it outside the box.
Despite its steep difficulty, Comix Zone is quite the visual treat nowadays. It's incredibly cool to see its hoody-wearing undercut pony-tailed hero jump from one comic book panel to the next, creating a stylish visual flair that you don't see in many games of this era. The game tells the story of Sketch Turner, a starving artist (and freelance rock musician) who gets sucked into a comic book he's creating. Inside the pages of his story, he must fight off Mortus, a mutant villain he created who is trying to escape into the real world. Whether you'll spend much time trying to overcome Comix Zone's various challenges or not, seeing the game in action is reason enough to boot it up.
If you were an early owner of the Model-1 Sega Genesis, you should be familiar with its pack-in game, Altered Beast. This port of the classic arcade beat-em-up consumed the time of hundreds of Genesis early adopters who were hungry for a taste of the arcade at home. In Altered Beast, you play as a resurrected centurion warrior who is tasked to rescue the Greek Goddess Athena. But in order to survive, you must rely on a power given to you by Zeus to transform into powerful beasts. While the game hasn't aged particularly well, it's schlocky digitized audio and shapeshifting action should make for a fun and faithful distraction.
Developed by famed studio Treasure, Gunstar Heroes is an incredibly entertaining side-scrolling shooter that you shouldn't pass up. The game centers around a unit known as the Gunstars and their mission to stop an evil empire from recovering four power gems. As either Gunstar Red or Blue, you'll use an arsenal of guns and acrobatic maneuvers to take on swarms of dangerous enemies and screen-filling bosses. It's great fun without the crushing difficulty of a game like Contra. And it's got that over-the-top Treasure-style spectacle that you need to experience firsthand to truly appreciate.
Contra: Hard Corps
Speaking of Contra, the one included on the Sega Genesis Mini is devastatingly hard. In fact, Contra: Hard Corps is notorious for its difficulty. This is because the game was dialed up in western regions compared to the Japanese version, which actually gave you a three-hit life bar and unlimited continues as opposed to the one-hit and limited continues. Fortunately, M2 is known for providing options for accessibility in its enhanced ports of classic games, so those who have neither the patience nor skill to beat Contra: Hard Corps may finally have a chance at beating this infamous adventure. This could be a tremendous boon for newcomers, as Contra: Hard Corps is just as visually and mechanically impressive as Gunstar Heroes, providing a variety of fun set-piece moments and boss battles.
The zany, cartoony antics of Earthworm Jim should be interesting to see on the Sega Genesis Mini, especially with M2 at the helm to clean it up and make it shine. Earthworm Jim wasn't known for its well-executed platforming, but its over-the-top style and comedy made it stand out from the competition. If you're unfamiliar, the game puts you in control of an earthworm named Jim, who wears a robotic super suit and battles a variety of evil enemies, including a maniacal pot-bellied crow in a yellow jumpsuit, a professor with a monkey for a head, a hostile robotic trash can, and much more.
Streets of Rage II
What about Streets of Rage II hasn't already been said? This iconic, stylish side-scrolling beat-em-up has been paraded in the lists of nearly every top Sega Genesis games list out there. But gosh if it isn't always so worth playing no matter where you're at in life. The fast-paced brawls alongside the bumping Yuzo Koshiro dance soundtrack always makes Streets of Rage 2 a fantastic time. And all this is amid a dazzling array of vibrant 2D sprites and detailed backgrounds. If you haven't experienced Streets of Rage II already, we envy you--definitely play it with a friend for optimal results.
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Castle of Illusion was the first game starring Mickey Mouse to make a splash, and it paved the way for numerous Disney platformers to come. There's a wonderful variety of stages that elevate personality above difficulty, but it's not so easy that you can quickly breeze through. It's a pleasant surprise to see a licensed game make it onto the Sega Genesis Mini, especially given how many games of this nature are often lost to time due to expired licensing deals.
World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
World of Illusion doubled up on Castle of Illusion's pleasing mix of accessible platforming and beautifully rendered 2D sprites and backgrounds. New to World of Illusion was the ability to play as either Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. In addition, you can play both cooperatively with a friend while sharing from the same pool of lives. The introduction of two playable characters kept the game varied, as each character has their own unique set of abilities and differences that impact gameplay and exploration.
Thunder Force III
Spaceship shoot 'em ups were all the rage in the 16-bit era, so it's sort of an unspoken requirement that one appears on the Sega Genesis Mini. Fortunately, it's getting one of the best in the genre: Thunder Force III. This much-loved shooter is packed with weapon upgrades, impressive visual effects, a rocking soundtrack, and a wealth of challenging bosses; all the stuff a game like this needs. Of course, what Thunder Force III does exponentially better than any of its contemporaries was offer a far more forgiving powerup system, allowing you to keep weapons you collected even after death; though, whichever power-up you were using upon death is lost. In addition, you can modify the speed of your ship at the press of a button, as opposed to having to collect power-ups to regain your ship's speed--a mechanic often seen in other spaceship shoot 'em ups of the time. It's no Thunder Force IV, but it's a worthy inclusion to the Sega Genesis Mini's roster nonetheless.
Super Fantasy Zone
Where Thunderforce III is a much more self-serious sci-fi shoot 'em up, Super Fantasy Zone is unabashedly light-hearted. You need only observe its cutesy visuals and soundtrack. But where Super Fantasy Zone shines, in particular, is its non-linear stage design--a quality the series is well known for. Instead of putting you down a path taking you from left-to-right or vice versa, Super Fantasy Zone gives you the ability to move freely across a stage. Your objective in each stage is to explore and clear out its various enemy generators, which once destroyed will trigger the appearance of a boss. It's an intriguing, yet well-executed twist on the genre's most deeply held tenets, justifying the game's presence on the Sega Genesis Mini.
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Shinobi III is perhaps one of the best games in Sega's classic Shinobi series and on the Genesis in general. It's a riveting mix of well-paced action and memorable set-pieces that's a joy to simply play in front of others--if only to show them just how cool it all looks in motion. You play as Joe Musashi, a veteran Oboro Clan ninja on a mission to once again take down a totalitarian criminal organization known as Neo Zeed.
Landstalker is a whimsical fantasy action-adventure played from an isometric view. You take on the role of Nigel, an adventurer in search of clues leading to a legendary treasure. However, this is no easy task as you must explore numerous enemy-infested dungeons and worlds to accomplish your objective.