Mega Drive: 9 cult games from Sega’s 16-bit console!

While it is slowly going into its thirty-five years of existence, the Mega Drive (or Sega Genesis in the United States) is a machine that has made more than one player dream – at a time when the console wars were rage. Even without Mario, Zelda or Metroid in its camp, the device has dozens of cult games that have made it famous… So here, for you, is the crème de la crème.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Of course, when we talk about Mega Drive, it’s impossible not to mention Sonic, Sega’s mascot! Because yes, on the sidelines of an adaptation on Master System – the company’s previous console – it is on the 16-bit console that the blue hedgehog has spread its wings. The machine thus has quite a few episodes of the series, such as the founding part (Sonic the Hedgehog) or Sonic & Knuckles which will give birth to the famous eponymous sidekick. Especially with Sonic the Hedgehog 2arriving in 1992, it will be confirmation time for Sega! Based on the solid qualities of its predecessor, this second opus brings a lot of novelties, in particular with the addition of Tales, another iconic friend of Sonic. All in all, it will be one of the Mega Drive’s best sellers.

Ecco The Tides of Time

Decidedly, the suites are in the spotlight. Do you know Ecco The Dolphin? It is originally an action-adventure game released in 1992 on Mega Drive. Not too complicated to guess, the whole thing features a famous marine mammal, but (surprise) within a story that brings together alien conspiracy and faults through time! Even more astonishing: despite its apparently very relaxing setting, Ecco demonstrates a rather ruthless difficulty, which will be softened in the sequel – Ecco The Tides of Time – with the addition of a mode to increase the challenge… This did not prevent the license from becoming cult on Mega Drive, with a very high level achievement for the time. With its few novelties, the second episode will only be much better.

Gunstar Heroes

Do you prefer action? Well, just ask! so here’s Gunstar Heroes, a “run and gun” (basically, run and shoot everywhere) released in 1993 and developed by the studio Treasure! FYI, it was the company’s first game at the time – which would later create other action nuggets for the Mega Drive (Dynamite Headdy, Alien Soldier). But right from the start, Treasure clearly masters his subject. Gunstar Heroes is fluid and exhilarating, displaying plenty of enemies and explosions on the screen, thus pushing the limits of the console as a certain Sonic knew how to do it! So yes, the graphics are probably not the finest of Sega, but the rendering can “only convince the work of genius who hides behind”, can we read on our test of the time. It’s too cool.


Although overall, the Disney universe has done wonders on Mega Drive (Castle of Illusion with Mickey, Quackshot feat Donald, The Lion King) and there is one video game in particular that has gone down in history. Yes, this title is indeed the adaptation ofAladdin, released in 1993 on the Sega machine. Frankly, there is not much to say except that, visually, it’s lovely, that all the elements of the film are present, and that even in terms of gameplay, it’s a small pleasure. As you can imagine, Aladdin is a very agile person, who can climb anything that comes to hand, even being able to wave his saber while holding a rope. The soundtrack is even in the game (with the constraints of the time). There are original shoot’em up phases on the magic carpet.

Streets of Rage 2

If you want more action, you’ll be served! You are probably familiar with the Streets of Rage license, the fourth episode of which, released in 2020, was very well received. Well at the time it was Streets of Rage 2 who makes the law, with a second chapter that really marked his time ! Alongside a few new features (clearer menus, cut-scenes before the start of each level, new soundtrack always on top) it’s the gameplay that takes a leap forward. Now, each hero (Axel, Max, Blaze Skate) each have their own special power, which replaces the ultimate attack common to each, in the past. The icing on the cake: here you can throw more objects. Enough to make it an exceptional stress relief even more successful than before.


So there you will learn something. If we tell you that before Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar (at the time DMA Design) developed a puzzle game, with tiny blue creatures with green hair? So it’s called Lemmingsand it is even a very good thinking software. The player controls a herd of these living beings who will not hesitate to jump into the void if you do nothing to stop them! In addition to the danger, it is also the obstacles that will have to be circumvented. Despite their scatterbrained nature, Lemmings can build bridges; dig just about anywhere; even explode to make it easier for you… All in all, with four difficulty levels spread over 120 tables, you have plenty to do. An amazing, striking video game.

Earthworm Jim

If someone tells you that an earthworm can become a video game mascot, do you believe it? Well, allow us to introduce you to Earthworm Jim, an action-platformer released in 1994. What is striking about this project – apart from its atypical hero – is the quality of its animations, which we owe to David Perry, having previously worked on Aladdin. Because yes, Jim is really funny to watch, the way he stands ready for the slightest attack, how he jumps, gets electrocuted! Same thing for the sets, in cartoon style clearly irresistible. “Today, when we talk about the cream of platform games, Earthworm Jim inevitably comes back”, notes our test of this software.

The Story of Thor

Come on, let’s go on an adventure with The Story of Thor released in 1995 on Mega Drive. According to our tester at the time: it is neither more nor less than “one of the best action-adventure games” on the Sega console. As in a Zelda, the camera here is placed above the hero (Ali) but insofar as it is an end-of-life title of the machine, the visuals are, indeed, superb. This is not the only strong point of the game developed by the Ancient studio. Alongside his trusty sword, Ali can use his fists to confront his enemies, but also rely on a completely original functioning mind system. Here, to summon water or even fire, you must first find the appropriate source (ice, bomb launched by the enemy). What create a cult adventure.

Toe Jam & Earl

Mega Drive: 9 cult games from Sega's 16-bit console!Mega Drive: 9 cult games from Sega's 16-bit console!

Finally, here is the game that is not the best of the Mega Drive, but without a doubt one of the most outstanding. Toe Jam & Earl, does that remind you of something ? It’s a weird action game – there are no other words – which features two extraterrestrials, very much inspired by the American culture of the 90s. Yes, the two lads love hip-hop and look like a mayo-ketchup duo with their red and yellow color. The game is filled with humor. Here, you must recover the parts of your ship by avoiding opponents, each more struck than the other. For example, there is a doctor who wants to do everything to examine you. But be careful, if you get pushed out of the limits of a level, you will have to start all over again.

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