The From A to Z series lets our editors go back and take a look at games from past generations that are classics, overlooked gems, or just titles they remember fondly. The idea behind this is to pick five games from each letter of the alphabet, once a week to showcase. This delivers 26 weeks and 130 games to talk about. Hopefully it sparks some conversation, and of course plenty of memories.
The third in our series focuses on Sega’s Mega Drive (Genesis in the US).
Let’s start with the letter “C”.
Ported from the Commodore 64, California Games allowed the player to participate in five different ‘sports’: surfing, skateboarding, BMX, roller skating and hacky sack. I was always partial to the surfing – although it was repetitive, it wasn’t as hard as hacky sack or BMX. To be honest, California Games didn’t really excel at anything but it’s a title that I still played a lot. Plus the intro music was really cool.
A war game in which the player was required to navigate a squad of vulnerable soldiers through a variety of levels and enemy battles. Cannon Fodder always had a lot going for it: the military theme, the blend of strategy and shoot ’em up gameplay, and the prominent streak of dark humour present throughout. It was also challenging, addictive, had great graphics and audio. A classic.
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
One of the best side-scrolling platformers released during the Mega Drive’s early years, this game follows Micky Mouse’s adventures inside the eponymous Castle of Illusion on a mission to rescue Minnie Mouse from Mizrabel the witch. Great controls, great graphics and a variety of fun levels made Castle of Illusion a Disney standout on this console.
Chakan: The Forever Man
A dark, difficult game, Chakan: The Forever Man followed the titular character as he sought to defeat Death and gain eternal life thanks to his prowess as an occultist and all-around warrior. Having succeeded in this Chakan realises eternal life isn’t necessarily to his liking – so in order to free him from this, the player (as Chakan) is tasked with defeating a number of supernatural beings located within the game’s ‘terrestrial’ and ‘elemental’ levels. A bit of a cult classic, with a unique feel.
Comix Zone is essentially an action game set inside the panels of a comic book. The player controls an artist named Sketch, who must fight off the enemies he originally created as works of art but have now come to life thanks to an errant magical lighting strike. While not perfect, in large part due to a gameplay style that would too often slide into frustrating repetition, Comix Zone was nevertheless an important title in the Mega Drive catalogue thanks to its innovative concept and design.
Tune in next week for the next collection of titles.