The penultimate edition. Day four. The top ten begins. This is serious business now. Yesterday saw games such as Sonic 3D: Flickies’ Island and Golden Axe listed, and outrage from someone, somewhere must have happened. Why is Golden Axe so low? Where’s Gunstar Heroes in this list? All will be answered in time. For now though, find your stress ball and get on reading.
10. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
A lot of people look back on this game as a classic. Rightly so. Sega clearly knew what they were doing with their Disney licensed games and Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse was the cream of the crop. It mixed great platforming, memorable locations and charming presentation together to make something truly fantastic. It was short, sure, but its high-difficulty made the whole thing tense and instantly enjoyable. I have incredibly fond memories of this one, and I can’t be the only one considering it saw an HD remake just a few years ago.
9. Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament
Imagine racing across kitchen surfaces, a pool table and even a bathroom against three other players. This game was insane amounts of fun. Codemasters are well known for their fine racing pedigree, and Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament represents their best. Track design is eclectic and hilarious, with pitfalls and obstacles being provided by everyday items such as drills, sponges and dropped ice-cream cones. It’s great fun in singleplayer, but it can get pretty competitive in multiplayer. An essential racing game still to this day in my opinion.
8. The Revenge of Shinobi
Joe Musashi’s first outing on the Mega Drive is still his best to this day. The pace may be slower than newer incarnations of the Shinobi series, but it is just as punishing. There’s an almost constant stream of enemies to fight your way through, but Joe’s skills are more than capable of dealing with them – as long as yours are, too. The gameplay is engrossing, thanks to some ingenious level design and brilliant combat. Games like Dark Souls surely owe a lot to games like The Revenge of Shinobi.
7. Sonic & Knuckles
Developed at the same time as Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles was supposed to be a part of that game. Instead, due to time constraints and monetary limitations, Sonic & Knuckles released as a standalone title, a follow up to Sonic 3. I’m glad it did. Because of this shift, we got two separate fully-fledged titles and the “lock-on technology” that let you plug Sonic 3 or 2 into this game’s cartridge, unlocking new features in both of those games. On top of all that, Sonic & Knuckles is a brilliant game. You can play as either Sonic or Knuckles, with different stories for both as well as big differences in the play-style. The incredible soundtrack and devilishly tricky stages are just the icing on the cake.
6. Streets of Rage
Adam Hunter, Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding. Names that are instantly recognisable to fans of Sega’s best beat-’em-up, Streets of Rage. Everything in this game is incredible. The soundtrack? Excellent. Enemy design? Brilliant. Presentation? Awesome. Sound-effects? The best of any game, ever made. To top it all off, it’s immense fun in singleplayer and two player co-op. I cannot recommend this game enough. I’ve played through it hundreds of times and own at least three copies across different machines. It never gets old and still stands tall as the best the genre has to offer.
Tune in tomorrow to see what gets in the top five Mega Drive games. You might get upset, you might discover something new, who knows? All I know is that you don’t want to miss what will be an epic conclusion to this incredible list of fantastic games.