There's no game exactly like Alisia Dragoon. If you've never tried it, you're missing a unique experience.
While the core of Alisia Dragoon is a platforming shooter, it quickly undoes those shackles and let's loose. Alisia has a powerful lightning attack at her disposal that automatically seeks enemies, but is tied to a recharging meter. Fights against the unending waves of enemies become more about dodging and pacing than keeping your aim true. Four autonomous magical pets, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, add a level of strategy to the mix.
The action is frantic and tense. The graphical presentation is varied and beautiful, putting the Genesis's typically muted color palette to amazing use. The music is a treasure in itself, doing wonders with the limited Genesis sound chip, and always feeling appropriate for the variety of environments you face. The challenge is not near as brutal as your typical Genesis title, which may be a plus or minus, depending on taste. All in all, it's just a great game.
This one isn't a genre changer, but it is a really good run-and-gun. A robo-man with a jetpack and gun would be enough for most games, but Ranger X also has a motocycle. Merge with the cycle to cover ground quickly, or break apart for twice the firepower. In a unique twist, Ranger X's special weapons are powered by light. This means that some levels will allow you to unload without restraint while others will force you to ration carefully. They work the mechanic well, giving every level a unique feel and pace.
One example is a level in which Ranger X finds himself swapping between a dark, dense forest and his support glider (filling the role of motorcycle in this mission) above the tree tops. Your targets are below the trees, while your energy source is above, forcing you to maintain a balance between the two.
The controls take a little getting used to, but the reward in exciting gameplay is more than a return on investment. This one comes highly recommended.
This one is easy to write off at first glance as just another licensed piece of junk. I can't say it's for everyone, but I can say that it isn't what you would expect. You play as the titular Ronald McDonald on a romp through some of the craziest, possibly-drug-induced environments seen in modern gaming. The environments are unique and engaging, making for an above average platformer.
If you find it cheap, this one is certainly worth an afternoon of nonsense.
Ghostbusters came out for a lot of consoles and home computers. The game those systems got was repetitive and not particularly exciting or action packed. The Genesis got a game all its own.
Play as a very large headed version of one of the movie heroes (sans-Winston) as you shoot up a variety of ghosts. Variety is the key word here, since there never seems to be a shortage of new types of ghosts, monsters and possessed objects out to bonk our busters. Toss in an item shop with loads of upgrades to buy with your ghost incarcerating profits, and you've got a solid gaming experience.
This isn't a favorite of mine personally, but it comes highly recommended from others. The Genesis didn't have quite the All-Star action-adventure or RPG line-up that the SNES had. So, we took what we could get. Light Crusader, while having its flaws, is still a good game. There's plenty of puzzles and some really fun, large boss fights that exude a style distinctively recognizable as the developer Treasure's style.
For me, it's the isometric view that tarnishes an otherwise great game. Where as most isometric games of the era have stiff, sluggish controls, Light Crusader has quicker, more responsive controls with a springier (though somewhat slippery) feel. But it's not enough to save the fact that isometric platforming is just plain frustrating. To each their own, I suppose.
Though most people who owned a Sega Genesis knew -of- Dynamite Headdy, they wrote it off as another random platforming mascot cash-in. Dynamite Headdy is anything but. Developed by Treasure, it has their unique, strange style in spades. Fun power-ups, lots of change-up in stage design, and an all around entertaining presentation make Dynamite Headdy a keeper.
Its only major flaw would be the poor difficulty curve that starts easy, then quickly spikes very high and promptly goes all over the place. Though somewhat frustrating, its worth enduring for what is otherwise a great game.
Dinosaurs for Hire was a very short lived comic book series from the early 90s that somehow managed to get its own Sega Genesis game. The series was known for its quirky brand of parody comedy and pop-culture references, which the Genesis game stays true to.
Play alone or with a friend as one of three gun-toting dinosaurs hired out as modern mercenaries while you gun down ninjas (so many ninjas), bikers, robots and giant movie monsters, among other things, in this silly little gem of a game. It isn't a perfect title and the difficulty can be a little unforgiving (as a Genesis owner, this shouldn't be new to you), but there is certainly fun to be had here.
Chakan: The Forever Man is infamous in the small retro-Sega scene, though largely unheard of outside of it. This is due in part to its near unparalleled difficulty.
You play as the comic-book-inspired Chakan, a swordsman so skilled he challenged Death to a duel and won. The wager granted him immortality, though not quite the way he expected. He was withered to a deathly looking form and whisked off to spend his days charged with eliminating the evil mythical creatures of existence.
With your twin swords in hand, you'll have to traverse four cruelly designed elemental planes to collect special weapons and defeat the masters within. Though Chakan is immortal, he is not invulnerable. Fall to your doom in one of the many brutal platforming segments, or run out of health, and Chakan will find himself back at the hub between worlds to try yet again... and again... and again... until he has finally completed all three segments of each plane. After which he gets to do it all over again with four more, much harder elemental planes of evil.
Chakan controls reasonably well, so a lot of the difficulty is generally accepted to be a fair challenge. It's just that hard. I don't 100% agree with that assessment, since there are a number of "leaps of faith", which I personally consider cheap and poor level design. None the less, if you're looking for a steep challenge, you can't go entirely wrong with Chakan. Just don't expect a rewarding ending for your troubles, should you managed to actually beat the near unbeatable final boss that only gives you a single attempt. That little, rage-inducing scam is infamous as well.
Axel Night's rating:
Though the Sega Genesis competed neck and neck with the Super NES in its day, time and nostalgia have been less kind to the second place finisher of the 16-bit era. While retro-hype has revived many rare and quirky Nintendo titles from the depths of obscurity, Sega's flagship success has not been so lucky. Here lies a small tribute to 8 slightly less remembered (but no less loved) Sega Genesis classics that do not star a spiny, blue mascot.