During 2020 and 2021, I found myself looking at some of the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive games which I didn’t play while I was growing up. The five I wanted to highlight are Fantasia, Dick Tracy, Alien Storm, Forgotten Worlds, and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. Some of these are arcade ports, and others were designed by western companies and published by Sega. They were made during a time when Sega of America was trying to build up the systems library. They were fighting against Nintendo, and their licensing policy.
Two of these games, Alien Storm and Dick Tracy, would have been fun to play with my friends. I don’t think any of us knew there was a Dick Tracy game on the Genesis. Mostly, we just played the NES port, got frustrated with it, and then went outside to play. The Genesis game is a much better game. Not only are the graphics better, but the game play is more action oriented. If it was possible to take the crime solving from the NES game and put it into the Genesis game, it would have made one of the best games on the system. Dick Tracy on the Genesis is a side-scrolling action game, which combines a rail shooter to fight the enemies on a second plane. It’s a lot of fun to play!
Alien Storm is an arcade beat’em up where you fight invading aliens. This game is similar to other early beat’em ups from Sega. It plays like Golden Axe and Streets of Rage, but in my opinion is more fun. It’s a great way to spend some time. The arcade version used the same hardware as Golden Axe, which explains why they’re so similar. Enemies in the game are creepy, and often are just pallet swaps. This was one of the five games I would have like to have played growing up, either in the arcades or with my friend on a Saturday.
Fantasia and Moonwalker weren’t all that great. The stories behind the games were much more interesting than the games themselves. Especially Fantasia, because Sega recalled the game at Disney’s request. After playing it, you might think the game was recalled because it wasn’t very good. The hit detection is off, the controls aren’t great, ant it just plays bad. What happened, according to what I read, was the intellectual property of Fantasia wasn’t supposed to be licensed. There was apparently an agreement to not have the movie Fantasia licensed out. This makes a very interesting story for a game that is probably the worst Disney video game on the Genesis/Mega Drive.
Moonwalker is a port of the arcade game. It doesn’t really feel like it though. I’m also not sure if it has anything to do with the movie of the same name. While the arcade is an isometric beat’em up, the home console port is a side-scroller where Michael saves kids from a gang. It was the most annoying game out of the five. You have to “save” the kids by having Michael find and then touch them… not like that! Once you save all the kids, who all look the same, you fight a group of enemies. The game has good graphics, great music, annoying game play, and just wasn’t as much fun as it could have been.
The last game, Forgotten Worlds, was okay. I didn’t like the controls at all, but it was fun to play once I got used to the controls. This was an arcade port, and it was one of several arcade games from Capcom which Sega would reprogram. I think this was an attempt to get around the licensing deal between Capcom and Nintendo. Another one is Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. The arcade game used a spinner-button to aim and shoot. This wasn’t possible on the Genesis, so instead of making it a standard side-scrolling shooter, the solution was to have the A and C buttons rotate the character either clockwise or counter-clockwise. This makes the game a little frustrating at first.
Looking at these games was a lot of fun, for the most part. If you have any suggestions for more game I should play, or if you have some other ideas let me know.