Looking back at the 16-bit era of gaming, the Sega Genesis library is often overshadowed by the looming beast that is Nintendo fan-boy culture. This leaves the Genesis library shrouded in mystery and ripe for the picking for any gamer who wants to start a cheap collection on the down-low. We've put together a quick list of great Genesis games for $10 and under to keep your wallet full and your Sega powered ON.
First up, let's talk about some important Genesis multi-game cartridges. The 6-Pak and Sonic Classics cartridges are possibly the most bang for your buck of any games we've covered yet. 6-Pak features Sonic the Hedgehog, Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Revenge of Shinobi, Columns, and Super Hang-on all for a fraction of their combined current value. Each of these games is a must-have for the system, so picking up this cartridge should be a no-brainer at an average price of less than $8. It's contemporary, the Sonic Classics cartridge, features both Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic 2 along with Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. At a price of less than $6, this combination cart brings the brand's most famous I.P.s to your Genesis for half their normal prices.
The Genesis is famous for it's flying shooters, so what would this list be without one? I present you with Thunder Force II, the under rated predecessor to its renowned sequel (aptly named Thunder Force III). Thunder Force II was a shooter that took a huge chance most shooters never take – switching between top down view a la Raiden and side scrolling views a la Gradius. In both views, you can acquire explosive power-ups that blow the enemies away, but not to the point where you eliminate the challenge. If you love your shooters jam-packed with action and explosions, don't stray from this game due to it's lack of hype. It is a bargain at just under $10, and it packs the punch of a $60 shooter.
Next up is a fighting game that, while some may disagree with its prowess, certainly has the singularity to make it perfect for this list. Eternal Champions was Sega's exclusive fighting game released in 1993. Sega had a hard time finding its place in the fighting game genre, which was largely dominated by the SNES in the 90s. Ports of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter came to the system, but both are still widely considered to be better on the Super Nintendo. Eternal Champions is different from any fighting game of its time. Each character has a unique skill set, and they don't fall under the typical “strong guy” or “fast guy” archetypes that you find in most fighting games. My favorite part about the game is its beautiful backgrounds and detailed sprites, which set it apart from most fighting games of its time. The game play is smooth, but the fighting patterns keep it from being a game that is conducive to competitive play. Due to the nature of the genre, this pushes Eternal Champions to the wayside and leaves it with a meager price tag less than $4. Don't be fooled by its reputation – Eternal Champions is still a beautiful, unique, and honestly fun game that can be had for cheap.
Sub-Terrania is a Genesis title that has been largely disregarded due to its difficulty. Part platformer and part space shooter, this puzzle-like shooter has you directing your ship with thrusts and rotations while blasting your enemies. It requires you to navigate through tight caverns and around enemies while monitoring your fuel gauge. How can this be rewarding you ask? Once the controls are mastered, the fun game play, rewarding wins, and addictive nature of this game will keep you coming back for more. That alone, plus the awesome opening sequence, makes this game a bargain at under $5.
Let's not leave our favorite Disney games in the dust. The Lion King and Aladdin (both of which inspire patrons to say, “I REMEMBER THIS GAME! I LOVED THIS GAME” every time they see it at our store) can both be had for under $10. The Sega version of Aladdin rivals the SNES version, and I often see collectors land 50/50 on the poll of which version is better. Hop from platform to platform tossing apples at your enemies; what more can you want? The Lion King was one of the iconic 16-bit platformers of its era, partially due to the success of the movie. Still, with a great set of levels closely tied to the movie, this game provides a fun romp for any Disney fan.
There you have it; just a few of the great games you can have without breaking the bank on the Genesis. If you know what's good for you, you'll hook up that Genesis today and push in one of these great titles. Trust me: they're worth the scratch!
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